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John Francome is in rip-roaring form - and here are some of his best quotes

John Francome in Lambourn 22.11.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker
John Francome: gave his take on the state of the game in a brilliant Racing Post interviewCredit: Edward Whitaker

Legendary jockey and popular ex-Channel 4 Racing broadcaster John Francome is no stranger to an opinion – and it's good to see he hasn't changed.

In a superb interview with Peter Thomas this week, Francome gave his take on the current crop of jockeys and the state of the jumps game.

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John Francome: 'It's one cock-up after another – a big industry being run like it's a gymkhana' (£)


Top horses and top owners

"When Constitution Hill won at Cheltenham, I thought he might be the next Dawn Run, the next horse to win a Champion Hurdle and a Gold Cup, and I'm glad he's turned out to be as good as he is because it's nice to see somebody like Michael Buckley rewarded after all the money he's put into the sport.

"He's invested a phenomenal amount in the game, but for most people racing's a sport and a hobby and prize-money's irrelevant, as you can tell by the amount being spent at the sales. For them it's about the craic, getting on the lash with people, getting pissed and spending 300 grand on a horse who can't get out of its own way."

Cheltenham's low sun saga

"The sun has always been there and the procedure is already in place, so it's just a question of at what point you're going to implement it, which obviously should be quite some time before start time! Or so you'd have thought if you hadn't been following racing for the last 50 years and seen one cock-up after another. It's a big industry being run like it's a gymkhana."

John Francome in Lambourn 22.11.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker
John Francome on racing's recent woes: 'It's a big industry being run like it's a gymkhana'Credit: Edward Whitaker

The makings of a top jockey

"I don't agree at all that you need to be completely obsessed with riding to be a top jockey, because with most people that puts them on edge, and horses know straight away if a jockey's on edge.

"Too many riders are too wrapped up in themselves to be horsemen. If a jockey's relaxed, he'll relax his horses and ride winners. Look at Brian Hughes; jumps off, long rein, hands on the withers, horse is relaxed, and he's champion jockey again."

. . . and his parting shot

"I wasn't the perfect jockey. I couldn't push one all day like AP McCoy, but I watched the best of my generation – the Jeff Kings and the David Moulds – and I learned from them, the way too many kids now don't seem to want to learn from the best.

"Anybody wanting to ride today, I'd say go and watch me ride. That's how you ride a race and that's how you treat a horse, and I learned all that because I'd hate to get out of anything and think I hadn't done my best."

Read this next:

John Francome: 'The clip shouldn't have even gone out as I was only keeping the lads amused'

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Published on 23 November 2022Last updated 12:41, 23 November 2022