Colourful TV racing pundit John McCririck dies aged 79

Colourful TV horse racing pundit John McCririck – who was a familiar sight at Doncaster Racecourse – has died at the age of 79.

John McCririck at Doncaster in 1995.
John McCririck at Doncaster in 1995.

The death of Mr McCririck, who had been ill for some time, was announced by the Racing Post this morning.

His unique and colourful broadcasting style made him a household name far beyond the the racing he reported on.

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Channel 4 racing tipster John McCririck at Doncaster Racecourse.

For more than three decades McCririck was an integral part of racing coverage on British television in his role as betting guru for ITV and then Channel 4 Racing, as well as appearing regularly on what was then At The Races.

He was a familiar face at Doncaster Racecourse where punters would gather around him for the top racing tips.

Known for his outlandish attire, mutton chop whiskers, booming voice and frantic delivery style, the Post described him as “by far the most recognisable racing broadcaster of his era.”

He also found unlikely fame when appearing as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

Roger Easterby, a close friend of McCririck for more than 40 years, said: "John was often referred to as being like Marmite, but I believe people genuinely liked him. He was kind, generous and knew his subject inside out."

McCririck attended Harrow school and held a number of jobs before becoming a star of sports broadcasting in his early 40s before being axed by Channel 4 in 2012.

McCririck is survived by his wife Jenny, better known to her late husband's legion of fans as The Booby.