Sky Sports Racing, the successor TV channel to At The Races, has signed exclusive Melbourne Cup rights under a new agreement with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC).

The channel will broadcast the Lexus Melbourne Cup exclusively live in the UK and Ireland this year after signing a long-term deal with the VRC.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's richest handicap race and one of the world's most iconic races, attracting crowds of more than 310,000 over the four-day event.

The new partnership with VRC gives Sky Sports Racing exclusive pay TV broadcast rights to the entire Melbourne Cup Carnival, including AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Kennedy Oaks Day and Stakes Day as well as Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

Sky Sports Racing will also have exclusive film crew and reporting access to the racecourse amongst UK and Ireland broadcasters.

"The Lexus Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious and famous races anywhere in the world and we are delighted to start this important new partnership with VRC," said Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races, the joint venture between Sky Sports, Arena Racing Company and other racecourses.

"This agreement covers not just the Cup race but the whole Carnival across four spectacular days and we will aim to maximise its exposure and convey the excitement of the week across our broadcast, digital and social channels."

VRC chief executive Neil Wilson added: "Sky Sports Racing will be a great new home for the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the UK and Ireland. We are very pleased that Sky will be supporting one of the largest racing events in the world and we look forward to working with them to showcase the racing and theatre of the Carnival across the four days.

"Positioning the Lexus Melbourne Cup and our other world-class races during Cup Week alongside Sky's other premium global sporting events will support the increasing global awareness of the Melbourne Cup Carnival."

Sky Sports Racing will be produced at Sky's studios in Osterley alongside all other Sky Sports channels. It will launch in full HD on or before January 1st 2019 and become the eleventh Sky Sports channel.

Last week the channel also secured exclusive UK and Ireland rights for the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the next three years, with this year's event featuring 14 races at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs racetrack.

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