Cheltenham: BBC Radio signs new four-year horse racing coverage deal

BBC Radio is to continue its coverage of live horse racing until at least 2016, starting with this year's Cheltenham Festival.

Respected broadcaster Derek Thompson is to join the BBC Radio team for the four days of racing from 12-15 March.

Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra's Cheltenham coverage will ensure that all 27 races are broadcast live.

The new four-year deal will cover major race meetings from Britain and overseas.

BBC Radio's Cheltenham coverage will be enhanced by the addition of 1998 Gold Cup-winning jockey Andrew Thornton, along with Paralympian and broadcaster Kate Grey.

There will be live text commentaries every day of the Cheltenham meeting on the BBC Sport website, including audio streams of all the races, and a comprehensive results service.

"We're really looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival, when the whole station gets involved to bring all the action, atmosphere and excitement to listeners. I'm also delighted to welcome Andrew, Derek and Kate to our team," said Jonathan Wall, acting controller of BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra.

"The sport has always been a core part of BBC Radio 5 live's output and 2013 will see more great coverage led by the best commentary team in the business: Cornelius Lysaght and John Hunt.

"The comprehensive radio coverage combined with the wide reach of BBC online and mobile will deliver excellent coverage of the sport to audiences."

Richard FitzGerald, chief executive of Racecourse Media Group  , added: "The BBC has been an outstanding partner in promoting British racing over the years and the sport looks forward to continuing this valued relationship, via the BBC's radio, online and TV news coverage."