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Lyons: Make races free-to-air at start

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VIEW: Ger Lyons. Photo: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

VIEW: Ger Lyons. Photo: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

VIEW: Ger Lyons. Photo: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Ger Lyons has called on Racing TV - the predominant rights holders for broadcasting Irish racing - to make their subscription-based channel free to air for a short period when racing resumes next month.

Irish racing will be the only live show in town when it resumes on June 8 at Naas behind closed doors and Lyons has encouraged Racing TV to bring the action into Irish homes and wave their fee for a brief spell.

Racecourse Media Group (RMG), parent company of Racing TV, acquired the right to show Irish racing last year amid much outrage and the Meath trainer is proposing a positive public relations move for the company in unprecedented times.

"It's a great opportunity for Racing TV to go free to air for a while and encourage new subscribers because there's going to be a lot of good racing going on," Lyons said."If they did deals to encourage people to watch, particularly cocooners, and made it free to air for a while it mightn't be the worst publicity stunt they ever did.

"You've a lot of people that will watch two flies going up the wall at this stage so if I was CEO I'd be thinking, 'should we not be doing something here?' and make it free to air for a while."

Meanwhile, Denis Hogan has earmarked Macgiloney and Cafe Con Leche as two potential Galway Festival challengers.

Hogan said: "I'll have a few ready for June 22, but the bulk of my summer jumps horses won't be ready until July.

"We've a few we're looking forward to, including Macgiloney who was a decent novice hurdler last year and is going over fences now.

"He's an improving horse and we will be looking to Galway with him."

Hogan also has one eye on Galway with Cafe Con Leche, who registered two wins in a fortnight before racing was halted in March.

"Cafe Con Leche is another who we might head to Galway with," said Hogan. "He won twice over hurdles in March, the second time behind closed doors at Limerick before we stopped racing."

Galway is scheduled to kick off on July 27 behind closed doors and Hogan is delighted it is set to go ahead. He added: "I can't imagine the summer without Galway."