NOT SUCH A LUCKY BREAK FOR RACING MEDIA GROUP

PUNTERS watching next week’s Cheltenham Festival will be able to see “every muscle move on every horse”, as the sporting event marks the first time Channel 4 will broadcast horseracing in high-definition.

The news broke at a lunch held by Racing Media Group, the media partner for the UK’s 30 premier racecourses, where chief executive Richard FitzGerald and head of broadcast David Bellin outlined the firm’s £8m investment in a fleet of HD broadcast trucks.

RMG may be riding high now, but last November the company faced a logistical nightmare when champion jump jockey Ruby Walsh – the newly signed sponsorship partner for the group – broke his leg the day before an extensive advertising campaign was due to go live.

The TV ad for Channel 4 had to be scrapped, at a cost of £15,000, and the newspaper ads had to be quickly amended to include a plaster cast on the jockey’s leg.

After a four-month recuperation period, Walsh returned to racing last Friday and plans to ride Kauto Star in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in an attempt to win the victory he was denied at Kempton in January.

In his honour, RMG has named the first day of Cheltenham “Ruby Tuesday”, and if Walsh is the lead rider at the end of day one, anyone who signs up for a Racing UK subscription on that Tuesday will get the racing channel free for a year.

With odds of 3/1, according to FitzGerald, perhaps it’s not such a bad bet – accidents permitting.

SLEEPING BEAUTY
GIVEN the long hours worked by the residents of the City, it was surely only a matter of time before someone invented a way of letting bankers take a short snooze on the job.

That someone is former City worker Jon Gray, who has this week launched Podtime: enclosed pods fitted with a mattress and pillows (pictured below) that make it easy for City workers to take “a short period of rest in the day” – for a small price of £5.99, of course.

Gray, who claims the pods can reduce stress levels and improve cognitive performance, said:

“The pods are peacefully quiet, providing the perfect conditions to get back on form after a stressful meeting or tiring business trip.”

The pods will initially be situated in the Citi building at Canary Wharf – the office address of one of the seven traders caught snoozing in a lift after a liquid Friday night client dinner at Roka in the Park Pavilion.

If only Gray’s sleeping pods had launched sooner, perhaps the traders could have spent a more comfortable night.

MPS FLIP OUT
THE financial world is spoilt for choice for Shrove Tuesday spectacles to watch today.

Would you rather hotfoot it to Victoria Tower Gardens to watch MPs (Stephen Pound pictured “practising”, right), Lords and the media compete in the annual Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race outside the Houses of Parliament at 10am?

Or would you prefer to watch the City livery companies racing each other at their more traditional Pancake Day event in the Guildhall Yard at midday?

No offence to the politicians, but this race is at least guaranteed to run like clockwork: the Gunmakers start each heat with a bang, the Clockmakers time the races, the Fruiterers provide lemons, the Cutlers plastic forks, the Glovers the white gloves worn by each runner, and the Poulters the eggs essential in the making of the pancakes.

scrum half

CALLING all rugby enthusiasts: the London City Scrum tournament, the only touch rugby event in the Square Mile, will take place at the Honourable Artillery Company in the Square Mile on Tuesday 22 March.

Battling it out to win the City Scrum and Plate in the tournaments’s fourth year are 15 teams from firms including Credit Suisse, captained by Nick Kearns; UBS, led by Trevor Leydon; and event organiser Norton Rose LLP, captained by Alastair Hamilton.

The standard of the contest should be high, as a professional player from the Harlequins squad is coaching each of the teams – yes, even those competing in the “mini tournament” for the City Scrum Vase. To attend, RSVP by Monday 14 March to CityScrum@nortonrose.com.