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Getting to Know Horse Racing's Biggest Personalities

Take a look at some of worlds horse racing with the biggest personalities like, Willie Carson, John McCririck and Anthony McCoy.


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Horse racing has plenty of big personalities
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There are some sports where the stars shout louder than others. Horse racing is one where the athletes mean everything to their fans, despite being almost unknown to those not interested in the sport. Very few people with even a passing interest in sports would shrug their shoulders at the mention of David Beckham, Roger Federer, or Simone Biles, yet mention the name of almost any of horse racing's greats and you might be met with confusion. With that said, there are some people in horse racing that have raised their heads above the parapet and become household names for their contributions to the sport. Here are some of those people.

Willie Carson

Getting a job as a horse racing television presenter is hard enough, but becoming a bonafide television personality is even more difficult. Willie Carson is known for his time spent hosting horse racing for the BBC alongside co-host Claire Balding. Together Willie and Claire proved a dynamic, and at times humorous, duo. Standing at 5'7" Claire is tall for a woman and, being an ex-jockey, Willie is really rather short. In order to help them appear level in the frame, Willie would stand on a box for their still shots. Being able to make a joke about the box shows Willie's charm and good nature which instantly resonated with viewers. It wasn't only his humor that won him the hearts of the public though; it was his incredible skill and knowledge of the sport, too. Willie would often share betting information with viewers, suggesting horses he thought stood a good chance, or indicating those who were priced a little high. More than this though, he was an excellent jockey in his time, winning four derbies, four 2000 Guineas, and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes no less than eight times as well.

John McCririck

John was a reliable constant in Channel 4's coverage
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Within sport, particularly the upper echelons, there will always be those who get a little carried away with their fame. Of the most eccentric sports players, not too many are involved in horse racing; people would probably think of Mario Balotelli first, or other outlandish football players. However, one member of the UK horse racing community could certainly be considered more than a little eccentric and that is the late great John McCririck. John was a true veteran of horse racing media, beginning his career in 1968 as a journalist at The Sporting Life. He worked as a journalist for some years before scoring his start on television in 1981. In this year he helped with the coverage of Shergar's Derby but soon became a well-known personality, working on various horse racing channels until settling at Channel 4, where he worked until 2013.

John was adored by fans for his outlandish dress sense, always sporting a deer stalker hat, a cigar in his mouth, and some unusual facial hair. Much as he had many fans, though, this larger-than-life character also had his fair share of naysayers. John's sense of humor sometimes didn't land well with everybody; calling his wife 'The Booby' was something John had done throughout their marriage, but a large number of people disagreed with this term. As well as this, John opened himself up for judgment by appearing on numerous reality TV programs, including Big Brother no less than three times and also an unforgettable appearance on Celebrity Wife Swap. John McCririck and his wife Jennifer McCririck (or 'The Booby') were paired with Edwina Currie and her husband JJ. When asked about her experience Edwina Currie replied, 'I returned home thankful that I live with an intelligent, kind and interesting man who is mindful of my welfare and who loves me... We are a lucky pair, and we know it. I wouldn't want to be Jenny McCririck again for anything.' Whether you agree with Edwina, or you loved John's big, brash and bold personality, one thing is for sure: British horse racing hasn't been quite the same since his passing.

Anthony McCoy

Sir Anthony McCoy is one of the best-known jockeys from British racing. He was crowned the Champion Jockey for the National Hunt season an outstanding 20 times, one year after the next. In fact, every single year that he rode professionally, he won the title. McCoy has a drive that almost nobody could compete with, taking more than 4000 winners safely past the post in his career. He proved that his drive and determination had been noticed outside the sphere of horse racing when in 2010 he became the first jockey in history to earn the title of BBC's Sports Personality of the Year. Continuing on from this record-breaking feat, McCoy was also knighted six years later, as a thanks for his services to the sport.




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