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'I thought he was having a laugh' - Luke Harvey on his last-minute commentary

The former jockey reflects on his last-gasp call-up at Lingfield on Monday

Luke Harvey: took over from caller Mike Cattermole to commentate on a race on Monday
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Luke Harvey admitted he was as nervous as he was before riding in the Grand National when getting an unexpected call-up to commentate on a race at Lingfield on Monday after regular racecaller Mike Cattermole was taken ill.

Harvey, who was at the Surrey track as an on-course reporter for Sky Sports Racing, was suddenly asked to cover the fourth race on the card, a two-mile handicap won by Figeac.

Cattermole, who has had issues with vertigo in the past, was taken to the doctors' room after covering the first three races on the card and, after receiving treatment, was later sent home.


1.40 Lingfield: watch a replay of the race Luke Harvey commentated on


Fellow commentator Simon Holt, who lives nearby, was contacted to step into Cattermole's shoes, but he couldn't get there in time for the 1.40 contest, hence Harvey had to provide emergency cover.

Harvey said: "I was getting a coffee after the third race as it was freezing cold when Steve Drowne, who is head steward there, came in and said I would have to commentate as Mike Cattermole had been taken ill. I thought he was having a laugh and said the only time I'd done that was when I was messing about with Jason Weaver at Yarmouth one day and I was useless. He replied that he'd looked around the track and I was the only one on course who could do it."

The former jockey added: "I okayed it with Sky Sports Racing and then it dawned on me what I was in for. The last time I was that nervous was before I rode in the Grand National."

Mike Cattermole: taken to the doctors' room after covering the first three races on the card

Of the commentary itself, he added: "I didn't have time to look at any of the runners beforehand but what made it more difficult was some of the names in the race were ridiculous. There was Nebuchadnezzar, Enmeshing and I imagine I even pronounced the eventual winner Figeac wrong.

"As my luck goes it was a two-mile race so I had to waffle a lot, and I can see why commentators prefer sprints! In the end, there was a sense of relief when Adam Kirby kicked clear on the winner in the straight so I didn't have to shout 'photo' as Derek Thompson does."

Thankfully for Harvey, Simon Holt turned up before the fourth race so his racecalling career was a one-off. He added: "I can't say I enjoyed it but George Hill [clerk of the course] did give me a bottle of lovely Lingfield Gin afterwards for my efforts."

Cattermole, 59, said on Tuesday: "I've had vertigo for a few weeks and not been sleeping that well. It caught up with me yesterday and I felt as if I was going to keel over and pass out. I felt rough after the second race and did the third in a bit of a trance to be honest when I felt I might pass out. I've not listened back to that commentary as it will probably be crap."


Lingfield Monday: 'Yard favourite' Royal Birth maintains Williams' excellent start to the year


He added: "The doctors arrived during that race and were eager to help. I didn't have to go to hospital but they wouldn't let me drive home, so Monica my wife came to pick me up. Thanks for all their help and I was inundated with messages after I put a tweet out after racing. I'll take some time out now and I'm heading to the doctors later today to see if we can get to the bottom of it." 


Read more from our Magic TV moments series:

Luke Harvey: 'The cameraman followed me – and I've never found out why!'

'The most amazing race, not only that I've commentated on, but that I've seen'

Rishi Persad: 'The thought in my head was 'holy s***, this is massive'

Derek Thompson: 'I simply assumed it was a woman and still laugh about it now'

Hayley Moore: 'It was a random thing to do. I didn't expect it to go viral'

Luke Harvey: 'It very soon dawned on me that I was part of television gold'


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The last time I was that nervous was before I rode in the Grand National
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