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Racing pundit John McCririck has been dropped by Channel 4 to be replaced by a younger team headed up by acclaimed London 2012 presenter Clare Balding.

Last night McCririck spoke of his devastation and accused former BBC executives at Channel 4 of treading the “well-worn path of ageism” after being told of the decision just half an hour before a statement was released to the press.

But Channel 4, eager to attract a new and younger audience to house racing, has appointed former jockey Balding, 41, to head a revamped racing team including experienced broadcaster Nick Luck and reporters Alice Plunkett, Emma Spencer and Rishi Persad.

McCririck’s sidekick Tanya Stevenson will replace her former co-presenter, providing information on betting markets.

Speaking from Las Vegas, McCririck said: “It had always been a dream of mine to report from the racecourse betting jungles of Aintree and Ascot”, referring to Channel 4’s new additions for next year.

“But according to Channel 4 I’m being sacked after audience research.”

Despite the sacking, McCririck praised Balding as a “terrific choice”.

McCririck has been a racing pundit for over 30 years, and despite his popularity with racegoers and betting fans he has proved to be a controversial figure in the past.

He was evicted after 12 days in the 2005 Celebrity Big Brother house after accusations of sexism and misogyny. His appearance on the Channel 4 series Wife Swap led to criticism about how he expected his wife, who he refers to as The Booby, to do everything for him.

Image via Getty


John McCririck rants at 'age discrimination' after he was sacked by Channel 4 following 'audience research'
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