John McCririck, horseracing’s best-known broadcaster for three decades, has died aged 79.

‘Big Mac’, as he was known, was a flamboyant presence on the screen, his larger-than-life persona bringing reports from the ‘betting jungle’ into racing fans’ homes on a Saturday afternoon, first on ITV then on Channel 4.

He was also a regular on Channel 4’s The Morning Line programme, when he would review the newspapers to discuss racing stories.

Having attended Harrow School, McCririck claimed he was a failed bookmaker and journalist, though he won awards for his writing on The Sporting Life in the 1970s.

His appearances on Channel 4 Racing continued until 2012 when he was axed – he took the broadcaster to court citing age discrimination, though was unsuccessful. He continued to work on At The Races, now Sky Sports Racing.

According to his wife Jenny – who McCririck always referred to as ‘The Booby’ – her husband requested that his ashes be scattered at the now defunct Alexandra Park racecourse in north London.