There are many more eloquent than I to pass comment or write an obituary following the news of John McCririck’s death on Friday, and many have. However, I could not let the news go by without a few words.
John McCririck was rather like marmite, you either loved or hated him. He was seen by many as arrogant, offensive and a buffoon. Yes, he did come across as such on many occasions as horse racing’s betting guru during the eighties and nineties while on Channel 4 Racing. However, he was a clever man, which I do not think that many realised. He was always on the side of the small punter, many who did and still do help to keep the sport of racing financially viable in the UK through betting. He would always be the first to challenge the bookmakers to pay out a larger percentage of the starting prices to placed horses in big races. He was always the first to challenge book makers to pay down to fifth, sixth or even seventh place on those same races. A legacy which will always be his.
He’ll always be remembered for his loyalty to Harrow School (where, as a student, he was reported to have run ‘a book’) with his rather wacky attire. Somewhere on the cacophony of colours on his clothing, there would be the famous Old Harrovian silver stripes on dark blue.
Horse racing should be grateful to John for the publicity he provided for the sport. There are only a very few individuals who have managed to generate interest in the sport to the general public, and he was certainly one of them.
I could write more, but many have already done so, but John McCririck should be remembered as an intelligent man whose heart was pretty well always in the right place despite what many regarded as his old fashioned out of date bombastic views. He was an intelligent and normally kind man and our condolences go to his wife ‘The Booby’ Jenny and his family.