Interview: JOHN McCRIRICK John McCririck was arguably the face of British horseracing for three decades via his work with Channel 4 Racing and beyond. In this bumper interview he covers a whole gamut of subjects starting with his rise from working for an illegal one armed bookmaker to becoming a mainstream TV personality.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 1 of 7)
In this first part of our seven part interview with John McCririck he talks of his mother’s plans for his future as opposed to actually what happened, working for an illegal one-armed street bookmaker named ‘Wingy’ and on course clerking for racecourse layers.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 2 of 7)
John continues his story, working in the racing press for Form Index aka the ‘Golden Guide’, trying to beat Timeform, the importance of form study. The hardest job in the world, bookies’ clerk, floormen. The current SP system and its flaws and how the game has changed since his first started out in racing.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 3 of 7)
In part three John talks working for The Sporting Life, hare coursing, the Waterloo Cup, Bloodsports or Fieldsports, and of his two writing awards – one of which included taking on the then chairman of the Tote Lord Wyatt of Weeford after dividend fixing. NJPC, NUJ, supine racing journalists. Interviewing Margaret Thatcher and covering Miss World.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 4 of 7)
Moving from print to TV, Julian Wilson with a leg-up, the old school tie comes into play with some memories of the pair of them being school bookmakers at Harrow. Postal betting. The odds-on favourite of a 100 runner race cost them. Joining Grandstand, David Coleman not being his best mate, updating football scores and not being a huge fan of ITV. Sir Peter O’Sullevan and getting into the betting ring, Andrew Franklin comes into view. John laments the lack of interest in horseracing and the fact he never goes into supermarkets (but he’s heard of them)
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 5 of 7)
John talks his love of the betting ring, the betting jungle, the colourful characters, how he misses tictacs, bookmakers going skint, losing money as a failed bookmaker, punter and journalist. The sad decline of Greyhound Racing. The Greyhound Derby, Football betting, Cricket, the Jockey Club running racing as a business when they should be preserving it.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 6 of 7)
John protests being the face of British racing working for Channel 4 Racing and winning a one horse race. Missing John Francome, knowing what the punters at home wanted to know, entertaining as well as informing. What’s needed to succeed in the betting jungle, thinking like a bookmaker, the betting ring at the rawest edge. ‘That’ clip with Barney Curley and Luke Harvey and being ashamed of something he said in that incident.
JOHN McCRIRICK (part 7 of 7)
In this final part John looks back fondly on his career and how things have changed for the betting ring and racing in that time. He warns bookmakers to be aware of punters and not to forget that they are the enemy! Does he have any regrets and how not to become the dinosaur – STUFFED!
Simon Nott is author of:
Tales from the Betting Ring