Viewing figures delight Channel 4

Channel 4 executives expressed their delight at viewing figures for the Grand National, despite a small year-on-year fall.

The world's greatest steeplechase reportedly attracted a peak audience of 8.5million viewers (56 per cent share of the viewing audience), making it the most watched television moment of the day.

This figure compares to 8.9million 12 months ago, but does however give the network a welcome boost after particularly disappointing statistics for the racing broadcasts on the Thursday and Friday of the meeting.

Channel 4 said that the 15-minute slot covering the broadcast of the race from 4.15 to 4.30 was watched by an average of 8.3 million viewers (55% share) with the live afternoon coverage broadcast across four hours 15 minutes in the afternoon from 1.00 to 5.15 attracting an average audience of 2.8 million (24% share).

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's Commissioning Editor for Sport, said: "The Grand National is one of the nation's greatest sporting events and I'm delighted that 8.5million viewers watched Pineau De Re win live on Channel 4.

"For the viewing figures to top eight million for the second year in a row is testament to the quality of the coverage from the Channel 4 Racing team."

Richard FitzGerald, who led the negotiations around British racing's four-year terrestrial deal with Channel 4 said: "The Crabbie's Grand National is arguably British racing's biggest day in the spotlight so it is very reassuring to see the Channel 4 Racing team deliver another fine broadcast, reflected by a similar audience to 2013's impressive figures."