A tribute to one of horseracing’s larger than life characters, John McCririck

I’M one of many mourning the death of John McCririck, aged 79, who brought racing to the masses on TV, before his controversial departure as a Channel Four Racing presenter.
He may have come over as loud, brash and opinionated on screen, but underneath it all was a man of great kindness.
I met him in the Press Room at Uttoxeter Races on Midlands Grand National Day some years ago.
He was sitting cowering over the race card, hidden under his unmistakable trade-mark deerstalker hat, getting his facts and figures ready for the start of Channel 4’s live coverage of the meeting.
I introduced myself and showed him the centre-page spread I had produced for the Uttoxeter Post & Times, to celebrate the biggest race meeting of the year at the East Staffordshire course.
“You should have shown it to me earlier, I could have talked about it on ‘The Morning Line’ [the breakfast time racing preview Channel 4 presented at the time],” was his curt reply.
That was a glorious wasted opportunity to get the newspaper TV coverage, I thought to myself.
But I was wrong. Just before the start of the big race he held the paper up in front of the cameras and complemented the Post for producing the supplement.
Bless you ‘Big Mac’. R.I.P.
Gary Shenton