Horse racing is loved and watched by so many due to its unpredictable nature, the betting excitement the sport generates and of course its raw entertainment value. Whilst this is a show put on by the horses and jockeys, and is always better spectated live in person, the sport comes to life on the tv and radio with the help of a good commentator. Like many other sports, commentators in horse racing often make the race much more enjoyable for the viewer by providing insight, fact but also sheer spectacle and an all round racing experience, so which ones have really left their impression on the fans?
It would be impossible to have any kind of article relating to horse racing commentators and not include this man. O’Sullevan has been the voice of British horse racing for decades. He spent 50 years as the commentator for BBC horse racing and as a result cemented his position as one of the best voices in the sport. His years on air from 1947 – 1997 saw him provide expert advice, funny tropes and all round top entertainment value. He was involved in commentating for the great Foinavons victory at the Grand National in 1967 alongside other great horse racing spectacles. To look through Grand national news is very interesting especially when you dive into all of the different facts and figures associated with the best races through history.
When it came to the TV British horse racing, O’Sullevan was the voice of the races. But does anyone remember radios? Yeah they little boxes that buzz and you have to point in the right direction for some sound. Well, when it comes to horse racing and radios, another Peter is in town. Peter Bromley is O’Sullevans radio counterpart. Bromley reigned the BBC horse racing commentator from 1959 right through until 2001. Known for his many famous lines, Bromley was a household name when it came to British horse racing and commentating. His voice was instantly recognisable and would wet the whistle of any horse racing fan. These two legendary Peters truly were the voice of horse racing for many years.
From old to new. It’s time to bring horse racing commentators into the 21st century. Gareth is one of the youngest commentators on the horse racing scene at the moment in Britain. Since 2012, this young lad has been calling Racing UK, Channel 4 and Sky Sports Racing, home. His invigorating enthusiasm and keen interest in the sport is inspiring for a whole new generation in the sport. After studying Journalism, Gareth started commentating at weekly meetings in Wales. Someone must have been listening to his talent, though, and it wouldn’t be long till he got scooped up for the big time in British racing. A young talent worthy of some recognition.
As the two Peters passed on the commentating baton towards the end of the 20th century, there was another body ready to pick it up and stride into the 21st century voicing British horse racing. Starting his career in 1999, Owen has gone on to become one of the most distinctive voices in recent British horse racing. Known as ‘Wiz’ by many, the welsh born Darren Owen is heavily involved in British horse racing – offering his commentary, being the chairman of the British Harness Racing Club and staunchly supporting the infamous Grand National. An unwavering true fan of horse racing he draws many to the sport through his raw vocal talent.
Our only selection who is international is the special Mark Johnson. The only commentator to cover both the United States racing and British racing in such a lucrative way, he has paved a dual understanding for both types of racing. He is actually the only commentator to have called both the Kentucky Derby and the Epsom Derby and he is proud of it (its his twitter bio). Johnson has a special way of cultivating some serious excitement in the racing audience. His 30 years service to the Jersey Racing Club is where he perfected his craft but he is now a big league commentator and has a distinctive way to entertain. The face behind a famous voice that deserves some recognition.