The BBC will screen its last Grand National next month after confirmation that the Aintree showpiece, along with the iconic Royal Ascot and Derby meetings, will move to Channel 4 from 2013.
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Although the BBC have reduced the volume of its horseracing coverage in recent years, the biggest meetings of the year had remained a highlight of their sports coverage, alongside Wimbledon, The Open, and the Six Nations.
But according to the Daily Mail, Channel 4 agreed a four-year deal believed to be worth £20million on the understanding that the integrity of the Royal meeting in June will not be compromised.
Ascot remains the only race meeting in which no sponsor can add its name to the most famous races.
C4 is expected to revamp its coverage and will increase production values, and it is thought the channel will look to lure Clare Balding away from the BBC.
Balding is already scheduled to present C4's Paralympics coverage later this year.
Jamie Aitchison, C4's Sports Editor, said: "This is an opportunity for us to work together to grow the sport, painting the full picture of both the Flat and Jumps seasons to attract new viewers whilst rewarding those loyal viewers we value so highly."
A BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC are proud of their long heritage of broadcasting horse racing and did put in as competitive a bid as possible in the current climate.
"We are of course disappointed that we have lost the rights, but we are pleased that all the races in the contract remain free to air.
"We of course still look forward to broadcasting the Grand National next month and then of course the Derby and Royal Ascot which have special significance in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year."
The 2012 Grand National takes place on Saturday, April 14th.