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John McCririck ‘devastated’ at being sacked by Channel 4 racing

Racing pundit John McCririck. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Racing pundit John McCririck. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS

By Simon Jackson, London24’s horse racing correspondent
Friday, October 26, 2012
1:15 PM

Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news

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Primrose Hill resident John McCririck has expressed his dismay at the termination of his role as a racecourse presenter with Channel 4, following the announcement of a new team.

Channel 4 on Thursday announced a 13-strong group of presenters who will front their horse-racing coverage when it becomes the sole terrestrial broadcaster of racing from January 1, 2013.

“Naturally I’m devastated at being sacked after covering betting, first on ITV and then on Channel 4, for 31 years,” McCririck said.

“It had always been a dream of mine to report from the racecourse betting jungles of Aintree and Ascot, but according to Channel 4 I’m being sacked after audience research.

“Without any consultation or being asked to change my presentation style I was only told by Channel 4 head of sport Jamie Aitcheson half an hour before their press statement went out.

“I acknowledge I antagonise people as twice in the Celebrity Big Brother House proved.

“Yet as Clare Balding – a terrific choice to head the new young team – said recently I’ve become the face of racing alongside Frankie Dettori and now, of course, Clare herself.”

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: “The presenting team for Channel 4 racing from 2013 includes a range of experienced broadcasters and racing experts and reflects our desire to give a new approach to covering horse racing as we become the terrestrial home of the sport.”

The new Channel 4 team are Clare Balding, Nick Luck, Alice Plunkett, Emma Spencer, Rishi Persad, Jim McGrath, Simon Holt, Richard Hoiles, Tanya Stevenson, Graham Cunningham and Mick Fitzgerald. Gina Bryce and jump jockey Sam Thomas have supporting roles.

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