The Racing UK channel has been upgraded from SD to HD, just in time for the Cheltenham Festival.

From today, the horse racing network will broadcast more than 600 race meetings per year in HD, including all the action from one of Jump racing’s most prominent fixtures, the Cheltenham Festival, which starts on 15 March.

Although Channel 4 has provided coverage of the Cheltenham Festival in HD since 2012, it does not show every race live so this will be the first time that all 28 races will be available to watch live in HD in the UK and Ireland.

For the move to HD playout provider Globecast has added a new transmission path for the channel that feeds into Racing UK’s Timeline Television-built facility at Ealing Studios and makes use of low latency Nevion HD encoders.

RaceTech is providing three OB units for the HD coverage with signals being brought back to Racing UK via a high-speed HD network commissioned from BT. A fourth Racetech OB truck is also being readied to aid coverage.

In addition, Racing UK will have new HD on-screen graphics, including form and betting guides provided by Timeform.

5.1 surround sound is also in the pipeline for big festivals in the future.

Racing UK chief executive Richard FitzGerald said: “Racing perhaps more than any other sport lends itself to HD. We look forward to showcasing the sport in finer detail than ever before.”

Racing UK will be available in HD on Sky channel 432 with SD coverage available on channel 466. It is also available in SD on Freeview and Virgin Media.

Racing UK is owned by Racecourse Media Group, an umbrella organisation representing 34 British Racecourses.