Saturday, March 06, 2010


Saturday’s Channel4 The Morning Line is a good place to start for all those out there who wish to begin an adventure into horseracing, to following racing as a hobby/leisure pursuit perhaps. Why not start your adventure today?

An entertaining and interesting program. A preview to this afternoons racing, providing key current news.

Today’s meetings covered by Channel4 Racing are:
Doncaster Jumps 7 races 1.45 £172k
Newbury Jumps 7 races 2.05 £103k
Kempton Jumps 7 races 1.40 £ 55k

LESLIE GRAHAM Hostess this morning. General Racing Broadcaster.
Bloodhorse Illiterate.

JOHN FRANCOME Form Specialist/Broadcaster/ Journalist/Author
Bloodhorse Literate.

ALICE PLUNKETT General Bloodhorse Specialist/Broadcaster
Bloodhorse Literate.

GUEST STAR this morning Champion Jump Jockey A. P (Tony) McCoy.
Bloodhorse Literate

TANYA STEVENSON Form Specialist/Broadcaster.
Email Tanya:
Bloodhorse Illiterate

ALASTAIR DOWN Form Specialist/Broadcaster/ Journalist
Bloodhorse Illiterate

Graham Green reporting for the Racing Post yesterday (Friday 5th March)
Saturday afternoon axing ‘humiliating’ – McCririck

John McCririck yesterday said he felt humiliated after being axed from the majority of Channel 4 Racing’s Saturday afternoon coverage.

While set to remain a fixture on The Morning Line, the decision means that, in future live betting ring appearances by McCririck, the sport’s best- known media figure and a household name, will be largely confined to weekday day meetings.

Two years ago, McCririck was dropped from the team of 18 Saturdays that he would previously have worked amid speculation of a personality clash with Channel 4 Head of Sport Andrew Thompson, and this latest reverse is sure to be interpreted by many as a further effort to marginalise him.

The colourful betting expert does not know exactly how many Saturday afternoons his services will be required, but it would appear viewers will see him only rarely on screen during the biggest punting day of the week.

McCririck said: “I’m not being dropped from all Saturdays, I’ll be doing the festival Saturdays, but generally I’m being dropped from the afternoons and they want me to do Morning Lines. So I’ll do quite a few Morning Lines and then either go home or stay at the races, but not working.”

McCririck, who will be on duty at the Cheltenham Festival and other major meetings, including the Guineas Festival, York’s Dante fixture and Glorious Goodwood, added “Clearly some people at Channel 4 think the Saturday afternoon program is better if I’m not there.

“It’s humiliating being a part- timer, but they want me on the Morning Line so I’m grateful to be working, as all of us are.

“But any time you are downgraded like this you are obviously not happy with it, but you’ve got to do what you are told.”

A Channel 4 spokesperson said last night: “John McCririck remains an essential part of our team. He’ll be broadcasting at the Cheltenham Festival, which is our flagship meeting, and he’ll be working with us at most of the major meetings for the rest of the year.”

Bruce Millington the editor of the Racing Post gave this further comment:

THERE will be those who will view the decision to marginalise John McCririck from Channel 4’s live afternoon coverage as a case of not going far enough.

But those who feel the bewhiskered curmudgeon is a nuisance to whom they would rather not be exposed are almost certainly in a significant minority.

McCririck is well capable of missing the target spectacularly when he fires off on this subject or that, but his verbal blasts can also be bang on the button.

The bottom line is he’s entertaining. Give us an occasionally wrong, but always interesting, broadcaster over a consistently bland one any day. He’s also popular. You only have to see the delight on the faces of the Saturday racegoers as they come across him waving his arms about in the ring to see that.

Racing is painfully short of characters, and Channel 4 Racing, when McCririck is off-duty, is prone to hitting flat spots between races that are crying out for the unique veteran to enliven with a burst of invective or an effervescent bulletin on a market move for the next contest.

Racing, and Channel 4, needs more John McCririck, not less. Bruce Millington.

J. Margaret Clarke responds further for and on behalf of Turfcall UK. Exactly, racing and Channel 4 need more John McCririck (Mac) not less. This fascinating gambling game would not be the same without Mac’s wealth of knowledge, how he puts people at ease, creating interest that people can immediately pick up on. An unforgettable character, who has done so so much for British horseracing.




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