Tuesday 16 July 2019

'Face of horse racing' McCririck dies at 79

John McCririck’s unique appearance helped him become a star. Photo: PA
John McCririck’s unique appearance helped him become a star. Photo: PA

Sherna Noah

Horse racing pundit turned reality TV star John McCririck has died aged 79.

McCririck - known as 'Big Mac' to many in the racing world - was for years the face of British horse racing.

And his unique appearance -deerstalker hat, sideburns and cigar - and outspoken character also made him a reality TV star.

McCririck was a familiar face on Channel 4's coverage of the sport for many years, with his career on television spanning four decades.

Married to Jenny, McCririck thrived at the heart of what he called the "betting jungle".

In 1981, he joined ITV Sport's horse racing coverage, which then moved to Channel 4, where he would spend more than 25 years at his familiar spot in the betting ring.

He first took part in 'Celebrity Big Brother' in 2005. He caused controversy with his views on women but was back to take part in 'Ultimate Big Brother', featuring housemates from previous series.

McCririck also appeared on 'Celebrity Wife Swap' - where former politician Edwina Currie tried to get him to cook and clean.

He acrimoniously left Channel 4 Racing in 2013, subsequently losing an age discrimination case made against the station and production company IMG Media.

A statement released by his family said: "Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and for many years the face of British horse racing, John McCririck, passed away at a London hospital on Friday, July 5, aged 79."

The British Horseracing Authority said: "Throughout a lengthy and colourful career, one thing was always clear -his enduring passion and love for the sport of horse racing."

Irish Independent

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