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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 14:55 GMT
Racecourse salutes McCririck

By Cornelius Lysaght
BBC horse racing correspondent

Celebrity Big Brother, the cult television show that is proving a huge hit with the racing industry, has swept into another unlikely corner of the sport.

Racing pundit John McCririck

With the programme's line-up including eccentric TV racing pundit John McCririck - hero or anti-hero, depending on your point of view - the sport is agog with goings-on in the BB House.

And its influence has even spread to that great bastion of sobriety and conformity, that very fortress of good taste and sensible living, the officials' room at Catterick racecourse, North Yorkshire.

As the first eviction vote looms, and McCririck, or Big Mac to his viewers, is in line to be given his marching orders, the track staged the Vote: Keep Big Mac In Handicap Chase, on Thursday.

The title of the race was the subject of a last-minute name change, having originally been called the less glamorous sounding Ilkley Handicap Chase, after the West Yorkshire town.

A spokesman said: "John is Mr Racing, along with Frankie Dettori, and the longer he's in the house, the longer racing is in the spotlight."

And punters looking for an appropriate winner were celebrating after the victory of Time To Reflect (exactly what McCririck had during his on-screen sulk early in the week over soft drink rations).

  • The winner, a 12-1 chance, was highlighted on this page earlier on Thursday.

    Famous pair face Big Brother boot
    13 Jan 05 |  Entertainment

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