Presenters


ALASTAIR DOWN


Alastair joined the team six years ago and is now the chief presenter on Channel Four Racing. He has been a leading journalist with both the Sporting Life and Racing Post for many years and has twice been named the Racing Journalist Of The Year.

What was your first job?
I worked for Raceform over a halaal butchers in Battersea. Quil pens, slave labour.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be an MP or the Editor of the Sporting Life, I've achieved neither.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
Jumping, it fills an emotional gap that the flat simply doesn't.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
The who would be Sir David Llewellyn - Jack Logan of the Sporting Life. He was a man born to the establishment but had the wisdom to be hypercritical of it.

The what would be the fear of ending up selling the Big Issue.

If you didn't work within the racing industry, what would you be doing?
A proper job probably.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Jack Nicklaus and anyone who can make a comeback after losing it.

Who do you most admire - all time?
Walter Matthau and Humphrey Bogart.

What is your greatest achievement?
Still being alive.

What is your most memorable race/moment?
The 1969 Grand National, Rondetto finished third to Highland Wedding, Rondetto was 14 and I was 13 at the time.

What is your favourite horse?
Rondetto. It pained me greatly when I discovered he did not have the long, peaceful retirement he undoubtedly deserved.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Become a bookmaker or be incredibly disciplined, I am neither.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
Some of the worst things have already changed - for example, the old Jockey Club with its prehistoric attitudes and arrogance has largely been swept away. There is a culture of greed about the game which dismays me and there is still work to be done on getting some people to realise that racing is meant to be fun and entertainment - not just an afternoon out for people who wear Trilbys and Harris Tweed underwear.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into the broadcasting and racing industry?
Don't. Do something that pays and satisfies you for a living and keep racing as a passion and pastime.

What is your most memorable bet?
I think rationing was still on when I last had a decent winner, but West Tip winning the Grand National from Young Driver was seriously lucrative as was the Cheltenham Festival victory of Roger's Princess trained by the millennium's shrewdest man, Martin Tate.

The Wokingham and Ayr Gold Cup's have responded to my pin more times than is decent to relate and as for the four mile amateur race at the Festival, they should register it as a charity.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Football has its moments and I think professional golf at the highest level is a fascinatingly brutal exposure of talent and frailty. I think pig sticking is a lot of fun although, not for the pig

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside of racing?
I am tempted to borrow Robert Morley's remark that "the only ball game I play is roulette".

What is your most embarrassing moment on Channel Four?
Being caught smoking on camera - just like being at school. The two occasions when I've said an animal had no conceivable chance and the trainer should have his licence revoked for running it, only for them both to hose up. I've also come to believe that I'm only put on the Morning Line after a late Friday night to make the viewers at home feel a bit healthier.

Do you surf the internet?
I would if I had a computer but I've only got a black and white television.

What is your favourite sort of music/band?
A massive range of Anglo/American rock. I know less about classical music than the average breezeblock - a cultural Palestine I'm afraid.

What is your favourite television programme?
Newsnight, Dad's Army and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I try not to watch too much and refuse to have any satellite television of any description; firstly because that wretched Murdoch has too much money already and secondly because TV is a thief of time.

Do you have any interests or hobbies?
Wine - I'm very keen on wine but it is getting increasingly less keen on me - cars, Battle of the Somme, politics and seeing my children.

Do you have any pets?
No.

Are you superstitious?
I walk under ladders on principle

What word or phrase do you use too much?
"Clearly"
"Deeply"
"Don't be ridiculous"

Do you have any pet hates?
My own smoking, fascists, caravans, tracksuits, the Japanese and prunes.

What is your star sign?
The one outside the pub.

 

JOHN FRANCOME



Francome worked as a panel beater in Swindon before becoming an apprentice jockey and his career took off in 1969 when he represented Great Britain in the European Showjumping Championships in 1969, winning a gold medal. He joined Fred Winter as apprentice jockey and won for permit holder Godfrey Burr at Worcester (1969); took over as first jockey from Richard Pitman in 1972, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Midnight Court in 1978 and the Champion Hurdle on Sea Pigeon in 1981. He was Champion Jockey 75/76, 78/79, 80/81, 81/82 (stopping riding when level with Peter Scudamore who was injured and they shared the title), 82/83, 83/84, 84/85.

He retired after 1,138 winners in Britain, the final one being with Gamblers Cup at Huntingdon (8/4/85). Francome then spent 18 months as a trainer before joining the Channel 4 Racing team. Francome published his autobiography Born Lucky in 1985 and has since written 15 novels.

What was your childhood ambition?
To play football for Swindon.

When did you join Channel 4 Racing?
1987

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
I like both but it has to be jumps.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
Jeff King and David Mould.

If you didn't work within the racing industry, what would you be doing?
Building Houses.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Andre Agassi as he maintains his will to win despite his wealth.

Who do you most admire - all time?
Paul McCartney

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
Beating John McCririck at Snooker.

What is your greatest achievement ever?
Body Protector pioneer.

What is your favourite pastime?
Golf and football.

Do you have any pets?
No.

Do you have any superstitions?
No.

What is the biggest lie you've ever told?
"I've found my ball!" (Golf)

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"Where did that go?" (Golf)

How do you keep fit?
Looking for my ball in the rough!

Do you have any pet hates?
Miserable people.

What is your favourite horse?
Crisp, who won a two mile Champion Chase at Cheltenham and then finished 2nd to Red Rum in the Grand National in 1973. At the moment I very much admire Edredon Bleu.

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
I would turn all off course betting into a tote monopoly.

What is your most memorable bet?
Snowdrop in the Triumph Hurdle at 10/1.

Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to get into the racing and broadcasting industry?
Sleep with as many producers as possible! Honestly, work hard and creep to anyone you need to.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Golf and Football. My golfing handicap is 14 and I support Swindon Town FC.

What is your best piece of advice to anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Keep a list of your bets and work hard at it.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Being caught by Noel Edmonds at Doncaster while interviewing a six
foot man who wanted to become a jockey.

Do you surf the internet?
Occasionally.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - York
Horse - Crisp
Drink - Coca Cola
Programme - Cold Feet
Colour - Blue
Hobby - Golf

What is your star sign?
Sagittarius.

 

JIM McGRATH


Jim McGrath is a director of Timeform, he joined ITV in 1981 and Channel 4 thereafter.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a jockey.

How did you get into racing?
I wanted to be a jockey and failed, when I left school I got a job with Timeform putting glue on racecards.

When did you join Channel 4 Racing?
When it began.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
Jumping - it's more of a sport.

What is your most memorable moment?
The first running of the Dubai World Cup in 1996 when Cigar won.

What is your favourite horse?
Freddy, he was second in two Grand National's and through following him I became hooked on racing.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Eliminate losers, be selective and bet less.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
I would reduce the amount of racing fixtures.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into the broadcasting and racing industry?
Keep trying, believe in yourself and in the beginning be prepared to work for little in return for experience.

What is your most memorable bet?
The first time I won £1000 at Wolverhampton in 1982, I was recording race times and was so excited that I forgot to press the stop watch.

Who or what has inspire or influenced you professionally?
Tony Cooke (ITV Commentator) and Reg Griffin of Timeform.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Andre Agassi.

Who you most admire - all time?
Muhammed Ali.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Saying Mystiko had no chance when he won the 2000 Guineas in 1991.

Do you surf the internet?
No, I've only just learned to switch the computer on!

What school did you attend?
Samuel Brunts, Mansfield.

What is your favourite pastime?
Squash.

Do you have any pets?
No.

Do you have any superstitions?
I always keep a winning tie on the following day!

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
None of your business!!

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
Far too many to note.

How do you keep fit?
I try to!

Do you have any pet hates?
Traffic jams, UHT Milk and lateness.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - York and Salisbury
Horse - Freddie
Drink - Champagne
Programme - Sky Boxing and Soccer
Colour - Blue
Sport - Squash

What is your star sign?
Gemini.


JOHN McCRIRICK




John McCririck, the Nation's favourite racing pundit, is widely known as the punter's pal. After attending the world-famous public school, Harrow, at a time when academic achievement was regarded as very bad form, John McCririck decided to plan his career in bookmaking. He foolishly reckoned that bookmaking would give him an easy life without having to work.

What was your first job?
Commis Chef.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a hack on The Sporting Life.

When did you join Channel 4 Racing?
At the beginning.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
National Hunt, the bravery of the horses and the stars often re-appear year after year.

What is your favourite horse?
Arkle - the last winner I backed is now a distant memory.

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
Stop whipping animals in the name of sport.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
John Francome - the greatest jockey. He was champion NH jockey seven times.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Muhammed Ali, Tony Lock, Jackie Milburn, Shane Warne, Tony McCoy and Tino Asprilla.

What is your greatest achievement?
Not chucking my wife, The Booby - yet!

What is your most memorable racing moment?
Zafonic's 2000 Guineas win in 1993.

What is your most memorable bet?
Financially and career-wise - when Charlottown won the 1966 Derby

Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to get into the racing and broadcasting industry?
My advice to anyone wishing to get into racing is don't! You're bound to be better than me and I need the miserable pay from Channel Four.

What is your best piece of advice to anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Act with patience, self-control and discipline plus work from your own form figures.

What is your favourite sport other than racing and what teams do you support?
Soccer - Newcastle United. Cricket - Surrey. NFL - 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
Being third change bowler for my House, Torpids, at Harrow.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
It was during the Morning Line when comedienne Ellie Laine informed viewers that the most interesting thing in my trousers was the label - and she was embarrassingly persistent in endeavouring to find out!!!

Do you have any pets?
Three yellow labradors - Smelly, Friend and Trouble. Two cats, Lost and Found.

Do you have any superstitions?
No, I'm unlucky enough as it is.

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
It's in one of these answers!

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"Leave you in peace."

How do you keep fit?
Drinking champagne, smoking cigars and eating at The Ivy (occasionally).

Do you have any hobbies?
Politics and browsing through old form books.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Cheltenham
Horse - Arkle
Drink - Champagne and Diet Coke
Programme - Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister
Colour - Black and White (Newcastle)
Sport - Cricket, a short head in front of Boxing, Soccer, American Football, Horse and Dog Racing
Music - I enjoy the least noisiest with the best looking girls
Hobby - Politics and browsing through old form books

What is your star sign?
Aries.

JOHN OAKSEY



The Noble Lord rode as an amateur from 1955 to 1975, taking the amateur jockeys' title over jumps in the 1957-58 and 1970-71 seasons. He was narrowly beaten second to Ayala in the 1963 Grand National on Carrickbeg, and won the 1958 Whitbread and Hennessy Gold Cups on Taxidermist.

How did you get into racing?
As a child my family were very keen on racing and I was taken to Cheltenham races frequently when I was very young, not long after the time of Golden Miller. I have ridden all of my life and hunted. I was training to be a barrister and my first winner came in a race confined to the legal profession, known as the BAR Point-to-Point. I rode a horse called Next Of Kin.

I also rode out for Bob Turnell near Marlborough and got more and more hooked on racing and so instead of being a barrister I decided to become a racing correspondent; my first job was with the Daily Telegraph where I wrote as "Marlborough" (this pen-name was due to me always reversing the charges from Marlborough to the office). In 1958 my riding career took off when I rode Taxidermist and won the Whitbread Gold Cup, in the November of the same year we also won the Hennessy which was run at Cheltenham.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be really good at one of several sports.

When did you join Channel 4 Racing?
I joined ITV in 1970.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
Jumping: Far more fun and much nicer people.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
Peter O'Sullevan.

Who do you most admire - all time?
1st Duke of Wellington.

What is your most memorable moment?
The 1971 Whitbread Gold Cup when I was disqualified. I was riding Proud Tarquin and he ducked towards The Dikler in the run-in, it was a tough finish and the horses fought it out head to head. I won by a head but was disqualified and felt this was very unfair at the time.

What is your most favourite horse?
Tuscan Prince won 13 races, five or six when I was aboard. When he retired, his owner, Sir John Thomson gave "Tusky" to me. My daughter used him as a schoolmaster in point-to-points and he was the safest jumper. We also team chased him, but he would only go well if my wife's mare was in the lead.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Never expect to make it pay because you probably won't. If you do bet, keep the stakes small and don't chase your losses.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
I would change the Levy Board's bias towards flat racing prize money from 60-40 in favour, to 60-40 in favour of jump racing.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into the racing or broadcasting industry?
Get involved in some way, ie. ride, go racing, work in a yard. Give yourself some connection that you can relate to.

What is your most memorable bet?
Cautious at Chepstow the price was 6/1.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Skiing.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside of racing?
I was run out by Denis Compton, stumped by Godfrey Evans and I hit J J Warr for a six.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
We had tipped a horse to win at Warwick and it came to a photo finish. When the result was announced it had been beaten and I didn't realise my microphone was on and I said "Oh Bugger" on air!

Do you surf the internet?
No!

Which School/University did you go to?
I went to Eton and then on to Yale, where I learnt to ski and had a lovely time.

What is your greatest achievement?
Helping to start the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, three dogs and one aged cat.

What is your favourite pastime?
Walking the dogs.

Do you have any superstitions?
Yes. I say good morning to magpies, don't walk under ladders and refuse to sit down thirteen to a table. Don't much like the colour green.

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
Difficult question, I tell them all the time!

Do you have any pet hates?
Designer stuble, dog fights and people who are rude to waiters.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Sandown
Horse - Arkle, Taxidermist and Tuscan Prince
Drink - Champagne
Programme - Dad's Army
Colour - Plum
Sport - Skiing
Hobby - Reading

What is your star sign?
Aries.

 

DEREK THOMPSON



An ex-amateur jockey and show jumper, Thompson's proudest moment came when he beat the Prince of Wales in a flat race at Plumpton in 1981. He later worked as an assistant trainer to Denys Smith and with Pierre Sanoner in Chantilly.

Derek began broadcasting on BBC Radio in 1973 and, at the age of 22, became the youngest ever commentator on the Grand National. He has been presenting racing on television since 1982, including for ITV's World of Sport. In 1988 he joined Channel 4 Racing, going on to cover the 1988 Seoul and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for Eurosport.

How did you get into racing?
I used to go racing as a boy with my best pal, Bob Champion. I once went through the card backing all six winners (my father put the bets on) and have been trying to do it ever since!

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a TV Racing commentator, and I'm still trying to get there!


What was your first job?
I was Assistant Trainer to Denys Smith which entailed riding out three lots a day. I went on to work for BBC Radio Sport for 10 years.


When did you join C4Racing?
At the beginning.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
I love them both, it's a bit like football and cricket - I'm ready for either one at the end of each season.

What is your most memorable moment?
Bob Champion winning the Grand National on Aldaniti - because he was my best friend.

What is your favourite horse?
Classified that I won on at Plumpton and also Shergar.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?

My late father who used to commentate at point-to-points in the North certainly started me on the right road. I used to listen to Peter O'Sullevan whom I rate as the very best.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Muhammed Ali. I'm reading a book about him. I was lucky enough to meet him once and I got his autograph. Bob Champion was very brave after having seen him at his very worst and I think AP McCoy is absolutely unbelievable.

Who do you most admire - all time?
My late father because he put me on the right road and I still wish he was around to travel it with me.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Never bet more than you can afford to lose, never try and recoup your losses and always believe what your own eyes tell you rather than anyone else's.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
I would lower admission prices, enabling more people to enjoy racing.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into the broadcasting and racing industry?
Be honest, believe your own eyes and ears and not other people's. I started off in local newspaper and radio and I still think that is the best way to set out.


What was your most memorable bet?

A few years ago at the Cheltenham Festival I was asked by the Tote lady if I wouldn't mind waiting as she didn't have enough money to pay me out!

What is your favourite sport other than racing?

Cricket, I support the England team and I am a football fan, Middlesbrough is my team.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
Competing in and finishing the London Marathon.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I was Gotcha'd by Noel Edmonds - I got him once on Channel Four and he vowed to get me back and he did - with interest!

What is your favourite pastime?
I like jogging in the morning, I used o ride out but now I watch the gallops and when I get the chance I like nothing better than a relaxing round of golf. Preferably with someone whose not as a big a bandit as Frankie!

Do you have any pets?
One dog called Sheba.


Are you superstitious?
No.

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
I don't tell lies - I'm too honest, that's my problem. Although when I'm commentating and I can't remember the name of a horse I have guessed, but only once or twice.

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"Who's going to get there?"
"He's got a point."
"I'll tell you what."


Do you have any pet hates?
Drivers who turn right when indicating left and people who arrive late for appointments (unless it's me of course).

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - York, Newmarket and all the smaller course as they're so friendly
Horse - Red Rum and Classified
Drink - Lucozade, coca-cola and after 6pm, Chardonnay
Programme - C4 Racing and Heartbeat
Sport - Racing and International Cricket


What is your star sign?
Leo.


LESLEY GRAHAM



Before joining the Channel Four Racing team, Lesley Graham was a corporate solicitor.

She has been going racing since she was three-years-old. Her parents were keen racegoers and they used to take her along. During her early teens she played hockey on a Saturday so did not get many chances to attend. When Lesley became a solicitor, she bought a quarter share in a novice chaser, so her first serious interest in racing was as an owner.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be an air hostess, funnily enough I don't like flying now.

Do you prefer flat or jump racing?
Flat, I've always been more involved and I don't like the injuries which occur so much in jump racing.

There are many people who aspire to being and racing journalists. What advice would you give to anyone asking?
Persevere and if you make it always remember how bad you were when you started.

What is your most memorable racing moment?
One Man winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the mounted interview I did after.

What is your favourite horse?
National Hunt - Desert Orchid and One Man. Flat - Triptych.

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
Inaccurate going reports. There should be some objective way for courses to give accurate reports. Also courses watering to produce good ground. I think courses should only be allowed to water for grass growth, as I'm sure all the watering ruins the turf.

What is your most memorable bet?
6d each way Red Alligator in the Grand National - this was my first ever bet, and it won!

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Athletics, particularly track events.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
Playing hockey for my county. I also set up the Solicitors Hockey League in London, which is still going.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
It was at Ayr. I was made to ride a mechanical horse, this was recorded and shown on the Morning Line. John Francome made a few comments!

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Steve Redgrave.

Who do you most admire - all time?
Nelson Mandella.

What is your greatest achievement?
My children.

What is your favourite pastime?
Spending time in Scotland.

What is your favourite sort of music or band?
Eva Cassidy, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.

Do you have any pet hates?

Liars.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Sandown
Horse - Desert Orchid
Drink - Mulled wine or champagne
Colour - Blue
Sport other than racing - Athletics


What is your star sign?
Taurus.

 


SIMON HOLT


After leaving school, Simon started out working in a publishing company called Furlong Press who produced form books. From that he joined the Sporting Life, first as a journalist/reporter then as a columnist. He then became a race commentator for SIS before joining the Channel 4 team.

What was your first job?
I left school to be a trainee at Furlong Press, the publishers of 'Superform'. I was there two years and it provided the perfect grouding in writing about racehorses and, in particular, handicapping.

What was your childhood ambition?
Doing the job I have now, believe it or not.

When did you join C4 Racing?
In the autumn of 1994. My first work for the programme was as down-the-course 'Devil's Dyke' commentator, with Raleight Gilbert in the Grandstand, for the Cesarewitch.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
It always used to be jumping and a top class chase (ie. Edredon Bleu/Fadalko at Sandown) still takes some beating. But, as time has gone on, flat racing has somehow seemed more important and significant. Flat breeding and the bloodstock side of flat racing are fascinating - and big business, when the horses race as two and three-year-olds there is a genuine goal and purpose - for the best ones. The wastage rate in jump racing is also disconcerting sometimes.

What is your favourite horse?
Red Rum.

What is your most memorable racing moment?
Anyone of Istabraq's Champion Hurdle wins. Although Dawn Run and Desert Orchid's Gold Cup wins would come a close second.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Tiger Woods, possibly the greatest sportsman of all time.

Who do you most admire - all time?

I was a great fan of Sir Dirk Bogarde, for his acting, writing and restraint. He had class and dignity.

What is your greatest achievement?
Contentment - most of the time!!

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
I would lower admission prices into racecourses, in America and Australia they pay only a fraction of the admission prices in this county.

What is your most memorable bet?
Celtic Shot in the Champion Hurdle in 1988, I took 33/1 ante-post, five months before the race.

Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to get into the racing and broadcasting industry?
If you are hoping to one day get into broadcasting and the racing industry, I recommend you get out and make contacts. Things become a lot easier when you get to know a few people and once you have your foot in the door others open. Be careful not to get too close so that you can't criticise objectively and fairly when warranted.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Tennis.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment was on the Morning Line when I was hosting the show. The Producer forced me to read out a very unfunny poem that a viewer had sent in. After reading out the piece, the whole studio just went silent, no one laughed, and everyone just sat there and looked at me I thought surely someone would come to my rescue, but they just let me sink!

What is your best piece of advice to anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Be sure to pick three winners out of every ten bets.

Do you surf the internet?
I like the Racing Post site, it is particularly good for commentators as it has the colours available the day before racing.

What is your favourite pastime?
I love going to the movies and consider myself a bit of a film buff. On my days off I enjoy going to the seaside, I was brought up by the sea and try to go back as often as I can. I also like playing tennis.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
I used to play Golf off a handicap of five and it used to be my favourite hobby until I realised that it was making me unhappy like the late golfing broadcaster Henry Longhurst. So, as he did, I have given up! Now I play tennis to let off steam.

Do you have any pets?
I have an ageing cat called Elsie who I obtained from a cat rescue service some years ago. She always comes to the door when I return home, follows me round the house and sleeps on the bed every night. She is absolutely besotted! I also have a dog called Max, a very short-legged black labrador - his mother had a bit of Bassett in her - but he lives with my mother these days and comes home for 'holidays'.

Are you superstitious?
No.

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"To be honest....." (probably a sure sign that I'm being the opposite!)

How do you keep fit?
I play tennis in the summer and go to the gym in the winter.

Do you have any pet hates?
Bigots, drunks and coathangers!

FAVOURITES:

Horse - Red Rum was the horse who provided the original inspiration. More recently I have admired Double Trigger and Giants Causeway
Drink - Red Wine, particularly Rioja
Programme - Inspector Morse and A Touch Of Frost
Colour - Blue
Sport other than racing - Watching golf and playing tennis
Hobby - Going to the movies

What is your star sign?
Aries.

 

MIKE CATTERMOLE

Although a relatively new member of the Channel Four team, Mike Cattermole has been involved in racing for many years. His interest in horseracing is something he inherited from his father who was a keen racegoer.

Mike has worked for The Racing Channel, Timeform and The Sporting Life and is a racecourse commentator.

What was your first job?
I worked for the government as an Economic Auditor.

What was your childhood amibition?
To be a football star.

When did you join Channel Four Racing?
June 1999.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
It varies from week to week. I do enjoy dealing with the jumping personalities more though.

What is your favourite horse?
Sea Pigeon. When he beat Monksfield in the 1980 Champion Hurdle the race went like clockwork. I remember rushing home from school to watch it.

What is the best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Never listen to inside information, more often than not it's a waste of time.

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
I think that bookies should pay out on the first four in any race with 16 runners or more.

What is your most memorable bet?
Papillon winning the Grand National was my best ever touch. On the Tuesday before the big race, Corals were going 50/1 about the winner, I steamed in and snapped up the generous odds. I thought he should be about a 20-1 each way shot, when he started favourite I couldn't believe it.

Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to get into the racing and broadcasting industry?
Timeform was an education in itself. It is like the Oxbridge of the racing world and if anyone is serious about getting into the racing industry, they should start by trying to get an interview there. So many good journalists started out at Timeform.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Outside racing, I am a keen follower of golf and a great fan of Jack Nicklaus. I've been a Derby County supporter all my life. I was taken to my first game in 1969 and have been a fan ever since. Although it has been sometime since Derby County were up there at the top of the league, I remember the golden Brian Clough years and go to matches whenever I can.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
Jim McGrath. I was lucky enough to get my first job in racing with Timeform and I've always admired Jim's rational approach to form analysis - he talks a lot of common sense.

Who do you most admire - all time?
I've always admire Muhammed Ali both inside and ouside the ring. He's an icon. I know all the details of his fights and have lots of videos of his fights on tape.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
My finest sporting moment outside racing came a few years ago when I did a parachute jump. Although scared of heights, I threw caution to the wind and leapt over 2,000 feet all in the name of entertainment. Unfortunately, it didn't cure my fear of heights, as I hoped it would.

Do you surf the internet?
I surf the Internet quite often and find the Racing Post site very useful for my work. During leisure time I likes to visit various sites usually along the lines of supermodels.com!

Did you attend a University or School of note?
I went to Keele University which is probably more famous for its service station on the M6.

What is your favourite pastime?
I enjoy going to the movies, eating out and playing golf when in good company on a fine, sunny day. I also love skiing as it wipes the slate clean.

Do you have any pets?
I'm not at home often enough but I do love cats!

Do you have any superstitions?
I don't take them seriously, but I always salute a magpie, I'm not brave enough to ignore them.

What is the biggest lie you have told?
I find it very difficult to lie but I've told a few in my time.

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"For sure."

How do you keep fit?
I try to eat healthily, I'm not very fit at the moment but I do try and stave off the beer belly by going jogging and to the gym.

Do you have any pet hates?
Smoking - I cannot stand it. Cruelty to animals and traffic jams.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Goodwood on a sunny day
Horse - Sea Pigeon
Drink - A dry white, Sauvignon Blanc
Programme - Fawlty Towers and Cold Feet
Colour - Blue
Sport other than racing - Golf
Hobby - Collecting modern first editions

What is your star sign?
Scorpio.

 

GRAHAM GOODE


Graham Goode's commentating career started in the mid 1960's as a public address commentator. In 1981 he was the senior ITV commentator and started commentating for Channel Four Racing when the program began in 1986. His interest in racing stems from an early age when his late father took him racing as it was his entire sporting interest.

What was your first job?
I started as a commentator for RTS - now racetech.

What was your childhood ambition?

To be a commentator - I listened to Peter O'Sullevan and thought 'I could do that job'.

When did you join Channel Four Racing?
At the beginning.

Do you prefer flat or jumping?
I change between both, all of one would be too much.

What is your favourite horse?
A winning one!

If you could change anything in racing, what would it be?
If I could change racing, there would be a harmonisation of targeted goals instead of each racing authority pulling in a different direction. Because we are an industry as a whole and competing against other leisure industries we should be working together and not against each other.

Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to get into the racing and broadcasting industry?
If you are thinking of a career as a commentator, I would advise you to learn to speak the Queen's English and be grammatically correct and to send in test tapes of your commentating to possible employers.

Who or what has inspired or influednced you professionally?
The Channel Four Racing Team.

If you didn't work in the racing industry, what would you be doing?
A teacher, possibly.

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Tiger Woods and all National Hunt jockeys.

Who do you most admire - all time?
Beethoven.

What is your greatest achievement?
Breathing.

What is your favourite pastime?
Golf.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
Golf, I have a handicap of 18.

What is your greatest sporting achievement outside racing?
Winning golf competitions.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I recall a moment 8-10 years ago, just after the Derby. As John Francome passed over to me before a race, a lady wearing a hat with feathers half a meter long came into shot and he said "from one pheasant plucker to another". I couldn't stop laughing throughout the race - it was awful!

What is your best piece of advice to anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Keep a record of all your bets and be patient.

Do you surf the internet?
Yes, my favourite sites include City investment sites and of course the Racing Post site.

Do you have any pets?
Three golden retrievers - Sofphi, Lottie and Lucy-Lastic.

Do you have any superstitions?
I try not to work when there's a Friday in the week!

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
I don't lie.

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"Funnily enough.."
"So forth and so fifth.."
"Six or two three's"

Do you have any pet hates?
Flies and litter.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Arlington Park, Chicago
Horse - The last winner
Drink - Tea
Programme - Agatha Christie
Colour - Green, Flame and Gold (Ed.Green, Flame and Gold are not only GG's racing colours but his initials too)

What is your star sign?
Pisces.


WALTER SWINBURN


Walter Swinburn, a master in the saddle, retired from race-riding on 22nd April 2000. He rode a total of 1,391 winners in the UK having had his first ride on Paddy's Luck at Kempton on 12 July, 1978. Associated with Sir Michael Stoute for the majority of his riding career, Walter's big break came when winning The Derby on the famous Shergar in 1981.

What was your first job?
I was an apprentice with Frenchie Nicholson.

What was your childhood ambition?
To represent Ireland playing Rugby.

When did you join C4 Racing?

Derby Day 2000.

Do you prefer flat or jump racing?
I have mixed feeling about it, I've always enjoyed jump racing but my profession has always been on the flat scene so that has to be my choice.

There are many budding jockeys, what advice would you give to anyone asking?
Don't expect it to happen over night. Go to a good yard, be prepared to work hard and listen.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
My father - I used to go racing with him, I followed his career and he was my idol. He got me started with Frenchie and he's always been there to advise me.

Do you bet?
I rarely bet and the only time I do is when I get a gut feeling about a horse. Follow your instincts.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
I would bring in a Tote monopoly off course but keep the bookmakers on course for the excitement.

What was your most memorable bet?
My first bet was after I gave up riding. We went to Kempton with some friends for a meal and the first bet I had won. It was Man Of Distinction, I didn't know whether to frame the ticket or collect my winnings!

If you didn't work for C4 Racing or in the racing industry, what would you be doing?
If not in racing, something in sport - hopefully a golfer!

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Tiger Woods. He's the most complete sportsman I've ever seen, phenominal.

Who do you most admire - all time?
Mother Teresa.

What is your greatest achievement?
Being a father.

What is your favourite pastime?
Playing golf, I have a handicap of 16 now.

Do you surf the internet?
No.

Are you superstitious?
No.

What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
"Yes I can do 8-02!"

Which word or phrase do you use too much?
"Absolutely" according to Andrew Franklin!

How do you keep fit?
I play golf and walk a great deal, occasionally I jog.

Do you have any pet hates?
Queuing anywhere.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - York, It's a great course and I love the crowds there, they really know their racing.
Horse - Shergar
Programme - Golf and cricket
Colour - Blue
Sport other than racing - Rugby

What is your starsign?
Leo.

 

TANYA STEVENSON


Tanya, known as 'e-mail female' is the latest recruit to the team.

What was your first job?
Dad thinks that I have never worked yet but my first job was as a bookmaker's runner.

What was your childhood ambition?
I started racing at very young age and there are pictures of me at Royal Ascot in 1973. My ambition was to one day get into members at Royal Ascot.

When did you join C4 Racing?
I've been behind the scenes for nearly three years.

Do you prefer flat or jump racing?
National Hunt is my favourite, there are more characters.

Who or what has inspired or influenced you professionally?
My father is my inspiration and continues to be every day.

If you didn't work in the racing industry, what would you be doing?
Swanning about and/or shopping!

Which sportsman do you most admire?
Jonty Rhodes, South African batsman and probably the best fielder in the world. The Sun newspaper once were quoted:"2/3rds of the world is covered by water, the rest by Jonty Rhodes."

Who do you most admire, all-time?
My dad as he has the constant pressure of me.

What is your greatest achievement?
One night at Canterbury greyhounds I stood up as the lone bookmaker for the last three races and won.

What is your most memorable race/moment?
Morley Street winning his fourth Aintree Hurdle or Bells Life winning the John Hughes again at Aintree.

What is your favourite horse?
At present Joss Naylor and Grimes.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make betting pay?
Follow market moves and be selective. Never bet in every race.

If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
Reduce the amount of racing, it is currently saturated.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into the broadcasting or racing industry?
You need hard graft and perseverance and a lot of luck.

What is your most memorable bet?
Warwickshire to win the Sunday League when Dermot Reeve was captain. Scott Hock to win Bob Hope Classic at 80/1.

What is your favourite sport other than racing?
American Football, Cricket, Golf, Darts, Greyhounds - I love them all.

What is your greatest sporting achievement?
Owning Sunni Girl when she finished second beaten a short-head by Cloheena Dungo in a big race at Wimbledon Greyhounds when it was televised by Sky Sports.

What is your most embarrassing moment on C4?
When Tony Dobbin though he was my favourite jockey.

Do you surf the internet?
Yes, nfl.com, betfair, 24dogs.com and gobarkingmad.com are the sites I vist the most.

What is your favourite TV programme?
Any live sport particularly any Oaklan Raider match.

What are your interests and hobbies?
Sport and I go to the cinema regularly.

Do you have any pets?
No pets but I do own five greyhounds, only two of which race at present:Belemma and the very talented Express Decision.

Do you have any pet hates?
Missing Aintree.

Do you bet and how often?
Once a week on golf or US football.

How do you keep fit?
Working for Channel 4!

Are you superstitious?
No.

What is the word or phrase that you use too much?
Any swear word.

What is your star sign?
Virgo.

FAVOURITES:

Racecourse - Aintree
Colour - black
Drink - coffee