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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Racing tribute to owner Whiteley
Richard Whiteley
Racehorse trainer James Bethell has paid tribute to Richard Whiteley following the death of the TV presenter just days after he had heart surgery.

Whiteley, host of Channel 4's Countdown programme, was a keen racing enthusiast and owned horses trained by Bethell.

"Richard had shares in horses virtually from when I started training here in 1992," said the Yorkshire trainer.

"He was a very, very good friend and he was a serious friend for Yorkshire."

Whiteley held the honorary position of Mayor of Wetwang in East Yorkshire and enjoyed a memorable day at Ripon in 2001 when Mare Of Wetwang won a 10-furlong handicap race.

"He would always attend open days and really fly the flag for us and for all of the Dales - he loved the Yorkshire Dales," said Bethell.

"He loved his racing and I am so glad we managed to have a winner for him with old Mare Of Wetwang.

"But the saddest thing is he was really looking forward to going to Royal Ascot at York and missed it all, which was really very sad."

Viewers of Countdown were asked last year to help name a two-year-old horse in whom Whiteley had acquired an interest.

The unanimous vote saw the youngster become Twice Nightly, a nickname bestowed on Whiteley by Terry Wogan and which alluded to the fact that for many years he presented Calendar on Yorkshire Television as well as Countdown - hence 'Twice Nightly Whiteley'.

Whiteley had presented Countdown since the quiz was the first aired on Channel 4 when the station was launched in 1982.

Obituary: Richard Whiteley
26 Jun 05 |  Entertainment

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