John McCririck collapses at Cheltenham Racecourse "suffering from the stress of being axed by Channel 4"


Racing pundit John McCririck collapses at Cheltenham Racecourse 'suffering from the stress of being axed by Channel 4'Veteran broadcaster taken to hospital after becoming ill at CheltenhamHis wife blamed collapse on pressure after he was dropped by Channel 4Earlier that day he had complained of 'feeling unwell'

By
Louise Eccles

PUBLISHED:

19:13 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:15 GMT, 12 March 2013

Racing pundit John McCririck was in hospital tonight after he collapsed at Cheltenham Racecourse.

His wife Jenny blamed his collapse on the stress of being sacked by Channel 4 after 29 years with the broadcaster.

McCririck is currently suing the channel for 3m for ageism and loss of earnings.

The 72-year-old – who was dropped by Channel 4 in favour of a new racing team headed by Clare Balding – called his wife before the last race this afternoon to say he felt unwell.

Unwell: Horse racing icon John McCririck was in hospital tonight after collapsing at the Cheltenham Festival

Unwell: Horse racing icon John McCririck was in hospital tonight after collapsing at the Cheltenham Festival

As he walked to meet her, he apparently took a turn for the worse and had to be treated at the edge of the parade ring by paramedics.

He was then taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Prior to his collapse, McCririck was seen sitting in the media centre alone, looking glum. He rose periodically to smoke a cigar on the balcony outside.

Mr McCririck seen earlier today at the race meeting. He is currently suing Channel 4 for ageism and loss of earnings

Mr McCririck seen earlier today at the race meeting. He is currently suing Channel 4 for ageism and loss of earnings

The Daily Telegraph reported that Tanya Stevenson, who now does the Channel 4 betting, spoke to McCririck's wife and said she did not think it was too serious.

She said: 'He doesn’t want to miss tomorrow’s racing or stay a night in hospital either. He’s going bonkers by all accounts.'

BBC Sport's racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght tweeted: 'Hospital say racing pundit is comfortable but being detained overnight; said to be demanding to go to races tomorrow.'

The commentator claims he was axed by Channel 4 for being too old.

In a statement issued in January, he said: ‘After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am 72.

'For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking 500,000.

Mr McCririck looked pale as he sat in a car while being attended to by medics

Mr McCririck looked pale as he sat in a car while being attended to by medics

‘Ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society. This litigation should prove to be a watershed.

‘There’s no upper limit to the amount of damages employment tribunals can award under the Equality Act 2010.

‘I am seeking a further exemplary, punitive 2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace.’

Channel 4 denied the allegations and said they would ‘vigorously’ defend the claim.

Mr McCririck, who attended Harrow, was originally a racing journalist with The Sporting Life and also wrote for Grandstand. He began his career in front of the camera on ITV's horse racing coverage in 1981.

He has also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and also Celebrity Wife Swap.

The TV presenter is known for his flamboyant dress sense and also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother

The TV presenter is known for his flamboyant dress sense and also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother