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12 Jun 13 07:53
Date Joined: 23 Aug 02
| Topic/replies: 18,349 | Blogger: ashleigh's blog
after 40 years commentating will call for the last time at ascot on 7th september.   
was told by another commentator going before he got the push.
Pause Switch to Standard View ja mcgrath to retire
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Report Jezebel June 12, 2013 8:16 AM BST
Sensible decision.  I remember when he first came over here he was different and dynamic, a breath of fresh air, but for the last few seasons his commentaries are lazy, formulaic and inaccurate and huge makes too many mistakes.
Report Jezebel June 12, 2013 8:17 AM BST
*he* makes too many mistakes.
Report million1 June 12, 2013 8:42 AM BST
GREAT news if true---listened to him on betfair radio last night---AWFULL
Report Apologist June 12, 2013 8:47 AM BST
This will have a devastating effect on bar takings for the larger courses.
Report million1 June 12, 2013 8:50 AM BST
sounded well oiled last night
Report duncan idaho June 12, 2013 8:54 AM BST
more shifts for Thommo and Lee Mackenzie...great Cry
Report sparrow June 12, 2013 9:02 AM BST
So long as they don't bring back Chapman.
Report million1 June 12, 2013 9:10 AM BST
all we want is a quiet normal person---who keeps it simple just calls the race accurately--not too much info---puns--lip smacking---there dosnt seem that many around
Report BJG June 12, 2013 9:49 AM BST
THE unmistakable tones of one of the most familiar voices on the racecourse will be heard for the final time this year after Jim ‘JA' McGrath announced he would be putting down his microphone from September after 40 years in the commentator's booth.
The Australian, who has become a fixture in the UK since 1987, has decided to retire from commentating and will call his last races on September 7 at Ascot, where he gained his first full introduction to the British racecourse audience.
McGrath, 60, was the BBC's racing commentator until the broadcaster ceased to cover horseracing last year. He has notified RaceTech of his plans to step down this autumn, when he will have called 20 Grand Nationals, 18 Derbys, 26 Royal Ascots and 20 Melbourne Cups. He will continue as The Daily Telegraph's racing correspondent Hotspur and with his appearances on At The Races.
"I'm retiring from commentating in Britain in September," he said. "It'll be 40 years exactly that I've made a living from racing commentary and think it's the right time to draw stumps.
"It was a difficult decision in that I love doing it, particularly the big meetings, but it was made easier by the fact the BBC no longer do racing. I suspect if the BBC had kept going and had renewed my contract I would still be commentating after September, but it's a fact of life they didn't and that's it.
"The beauty of the BBC job was you were able to do the Derby, Royal Ascot, the Grand National, the Arc every year. It was a fantastic privilege and great honour to call those races. They are the pinnacle, and although I could have kept on going and doing my Newton Abbots and Kemptons and the rest, it's not quite the same.
"I've arranged with Ascot to do September 7 and that will be my last commentary in Britain. I'll do the Melbourne Cup for BBC Radio 5 live in November and that will be my 20th broadcast of the Cup for them. I am looking forward to those."
Ascot has a resonance for McGrath, as it was where he called his first full major meeting. He had done race commentary at the Ebor meeting from 1984 to 1986, but the SGB Chase fixture of 1987 was his first as part of the Racecourse Technical Services roster. Next week he will commentate at his 26th consecutive royal meeting, 15 of which were for the BBC.
McGrath, who commentated in Australia and Hong Kong before relocating to Britain, where he worked as a reporter for the Racing Post and later succeeded Sir Peter O'Sullevan at the BBC, has introduced a host of phrases to the commentators' lexicon including ‘the persuader', ‘in the box seat' and ‘scraping paint' during a career of many highlights.
He added: "The races I look back on memorably are Sea The Stars' Arc in 2009, Persian Punch winning the Goodwood Cup in 2003, Rodrigo De Triano in the Juddmonte in 1992, Pour Moi in the 2011 Derby and Red Marauder in the 2001 Grand National.
"They say I introduced ‘the persuader', which I did, but I only ever used it once, which was at Newton Abbot 20 years ago. ‘Three-way go' is one of mine, and jockeys are always ‘scraping paint', even now we have plastic rails.
"The commentary box when I started had a microphone on a very big hook which went around your neck, but that was it. There was no television monitor, big screens, no colours on the racecard, nothing like the sophistication that exists now. Everyone has those aids now, which places a lot more emphasis on the need for accuracy."
Despite his experience McGrath was subjected to a six-month review of his performances last year in order to continue on the list of racecourse commentators, while he was overlooked for the Channel 4 Racing post when the network took over exclusive terrestrial coverage of horseracing in January.
"There are no regrets," he said. "I was asked by IMG if I would be available for any Saturday work through the season. I said I would be but they have two excellent commentators in Simon Holt and Richard Hoiles, and if it had been the other way around I think I would have been disappointed if the BBC had brought in someone from outside.
"There was no disappointment there. I'm very happy I was able to do a job I was passionate about and enjoyed so much."
Report TiptheOdds June 12, 2013 9:52 AM BST
Yet more sad news for racing.
Report BARROWBOY June 12, 2013 9:54 AM BST
About time too,he's years past his sell by,tarnished his reputation badly.Wonder if they'll use him at RA this year for those 30 runner sprints spread across the course should lead to IR carnage.
Report TRD.Racing June 12, 2013 10:02 AM BST
Better late than never. The guy is hopeless and has been for many years I wonder if him
failing to notice the fav falling at the 2nd fence the other day and calling the whole race without even mentioning it had anything to do with it
Report BARROWBOY June 12, 2013 10:14 AM BST
probably realised he'd no chance of getting through the next review so jumped before he was pushed,still be on the gravy train though, will have his  Telegraph column & no doubt ATR will let him loose in the parade ring
Report guinness2dear June 12, 2013 10:45 AM BST
Good riddance and close the door after ye..
Report Facts June 12, 2013 11:27 AM BST
Report million1 June 12, 2013 11:37 AM BST
and take Derek  Thompson with yer
Report northanlite June 12, 2013 11:59 AM BST
40 years is a pretty good shift. the guy was a good journalist first and foremost.
pity there are so many nasty spiteful little b!tches on this forum who want to blame everyone but themselves for their failures.
Report million1 June 12, 2013 12:13 PM BST
yeh he was the best early doors---but you got to admit his commentaries have gone rapidly downhill last couple of years
Report Angel Gabrial June 12, 2013 12:44 PM BST
I think he is still yet to mention the Jollie falling the other day "and they are all safely over"Laugh
Report overthecliff June 12, 2013 12:45 PM BST
"On settling down" about time he fecked off,too many mistakes and cliches "I reckon"!!!Laugh
Report starfish and coffee June 12, 2013 12:57 PM BST
About 6 years too late but good on him got what he could out of it and had a few drinks along the way !
Report theres only one best tonic June 12, 2013 12:57 PM BST
after the terrible news yesterday of the passing of sir henry it was good of aussie jim to announce this and put a bit of happiness back into racing
Report barstool June 12, 2013 1:07 PM BST
I preferred him to a lot of the other commentators and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Report Ballydoyle June 12, 2013 1:23 PM BST
"as they sort themselves out"
Report rcing June 12, 2013 1:40 PM BST
i liked jim , i didn't care too much if he made mistakes or not , just like how sir peter o'sullevan could have read the hone book during commentaries and it would still have sounded good  . his voice was what i grew up with commentating on horse racing .

good luck to him
Report rcing June 12, 2013 1:41 PM BST
hone = phone

for those that might not have been able to figure it out Happy
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