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second again
31 Jan 21 13:19
Date Joined: 01 Nov 01
| Topic/replies: 691 | Blogger: second again's blog
Very sad news.R.I.P.
Pause Switch to Standard View Paul Haigh dead
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Report the dealer January 31, 2021 1:20 PM GMT
Sad news rip
Report penzance January 31, 2021 1:24 PM GMT
sorted peoples betting disputes out
for them.
Report isleham January 31, 2021 1:24 PM GMT
excellent journalist...
first met him when i was a student at aberystwyth in the early 70s when he worked in the back office of TB Fish bookmaker
Report G Hall January 31, 2021 1:26 PM GMT
RIP Top man
Report jimnast January 31, 2021 1:30 PM GMT
very sad to hear,there seems no end to this kind of newsSad
Report ashleigh January 31, 2021 1:34 PM GMT
sad news, passed away aged 76, after big mac he was the punters best friend. rip.Sad
Report posy January 31, 2021 1:35 PM GMT
That is indeed sad news ;what age was he ?
Report acey deucy January 31, 2021 1:36 PM GMT
Now that is sad news, i was a fan.Sad
Report posy January 31, 2021 1:36 PM GMT
just seen ashleigh's post !
Report loper January 31, 2021 1:37 PM GMT
Represented the common man.

His iconoclastic style made you feel that there was someone with a voice expressing the concerns what you felt about the sport.

Sometimes you disagreed with his point of view, yet you knew it was honestly formed. You could not accuse Haigh of being on the 'gravy train'.
Report workrider January 31, 2021 1:37 PM GMT
A really nice guy I always enjoyed reading his articles , a very intelligent man and loved his racing.R.I.P...
Report sparrow January 31, 2021 1:39 PM GMT
Sad news indeed. R.I.P. Paul.
Report mrcombustible January 31, 2021 1:39 PM GMT
Post writer and racing journalist of the year Paul Haigh dies at age of 76
Paul Haigh: described as a "wonderful raconteur" by his former editor Michael Harris
Paul Haigh: described as a "wonderful raconteur" by his former editor Michael Harris
Edward Whitaker (
1 of 1
By Lewis Porteous
UPDATED 1:29PM, JAN 31 2021
Paul Haigh, the long-standing Racing Post writer and former racing journalist of the year, has died at the age of 76.

Haigh was one of the high-profile signings made by the first Racing Post editor, the late Graham Rock, and wrote for the newspaper from its launch in April 1986 until 2009.

Prior to that, he had made his name working for the monthly Pacemaker magazine as someone who, by racing standards, was a left-wing, anti-establishment writer.

Haigh won specialist columnist of the year for a trade publication in the Magazine Publishing Awards in 1984, when the Publisher magazine said: "Haigh's reporting, whether on the mysteries of Shergar's disappearance or on impressions of a day out at Deauville, was always interesting even to the layman. The judges enjoyed the way his writing informed and entertained at the same time."

Upon joining the Post, Haigh wrote a column two or three times a week until 1993, the year he was named racing journalist of the year at the HWPA Derby Awards. Having decided by that point to become a freelance journalist, Haigh continued to contribute to the Post until his resignation in 2009.

He also wrote many books, including The Racehorse Trainer, which was published in 1990 and included 21 detailed chapters profiling some of the greatest international trainers, ranging from Henry Cecil to Bart Cummings.

The Master Punter returns, and the word is. . . Golan

Michael Harris, his editor at Pacemaker, and later at the Post, remembers Haigh as a "wonderful raconteur" who wrote with great humour but was never scared to voice his opinion.   

"His writing was as good as anything I've ever read on the subject of horseracing," said Harris. "Not necessarily from the point of view of his opinions but certainly from his wonderful style of writing and the humour it conveyed.

"He consistently showed all the attributes of a great columnist in that he was controversial, irreverent and often very funny. He was a wonderful raconteur but along with that he was also obstinate and difficult to control.

"He would say what he thought and to hell with the consequences. His frequent obsessions with certain subjects and people were almost always entertaining."

John McCririck: regularly featured in Paul Haigh's columns
John McCririck: regularly featured in Paul Haigh's columns
Edward Whitaker (
Those obsessions included the abolition of off-course bookmakers to create a Tote monopoly, and John McCririck, who was another to regularly feature in Haigh's words.
Harris said: "When I thought he'd gone too far I would often argue the point that racing was a small parish and his opinions had to be seen in the context of our industry and readership, but that rarely made a difference.

"The genius of Paul Haigh was in his writing ability and journalistic skills. He wrote with an Orwellian clarity to the point where even his great nemesis, the late John McCririck, once said that Haigh was always a good writer and sometimes a great writer.   

"He was far from being a saint and was an inveterate punter, not just on horses but on a range of sports, but he did possess a sensitive, compassionate side.

"We saw this when he produced some of his best pieces while on a charity trip to Africa with Barney Curley, having been moved by the poverty that he saw around him, and it was always evident with his love for his two daughters Victoria and Catherine, which only increased as he got older."

Former Racing Post colleague Alastair Down described Haigh as a "great writer" who wasted little time getting to the heart of the debate.

Down said: "Paul at his best was a great writer. He had quite a degree of kindness and concern for his fellow man, woman and punter.

"He had a hard edge to him and was quite tough. He could be very tough in print but that never eradicated his essential compassion. He was tremendous company and an evening out with Paul was never dull or short. He had a great sense of humour."

He added: "What separated him from other racing writers of my time was that he had this scalpel-like way of cutting to the heart of the matter and being tough in his arguments. He didn't spare the rod and was on the side of the ordinary person in racing, which I admired.

"I wish I'd known him better to be honest, but at his peak he was hugely influential and to read a Haigh column was to be involved straight away in what he was talking about. He didn't waste words or over-embellish like some of us do. I admired him and am sad to hear of his passing."
Report The Management January 31, 2021 1:55 PM GMT
An honourable man operating in a business awash with dishonourable self-interested charlatans - went with what he thought was the right thing, in a profession where going with the flow or turning a blind eye is the norm and probably would have been much easier and more beneficial to his career.
Report Manoleeds January 31, 2021 1:57 PM GMT
I had no idea he was anything like 76.
Report sixtwosix January 31, 2021 1:58 PM GMT
Report jimnast January 31, 2021 2:03 PM GMT
me to manoleeds
Report Storm Alert January 31, 2021 2:05 PM GMT
omg, I used to love his column in the Racing Post and had a letter published in the RP which he referred to calling me a "Master Punter". I'm sure was meant as a double entendre. I met him in the 90's at some event and he certainly was an interesting character. RIP.
Report kev January 31, 2021 2:07 PM GMT
Great writer. Loved his columns, fearless journalist.

Posted on here a bit 15 years or so ago. Very funny posts.

Rest In Peace and condolences to family and all who knew him.
Report punchestown January 31, 2021 2:13 PM GMT
I had no idea he was anything like 76.
Like a lot of journos their profile pic was often an old snap from years ago,RIP.
Report ALIEN SEX FIEND January 31, 2021 2:17 PM GMT

Jan 31, 2021 -- 8:13AM, punchestown wrote:

I had no idea he was anything like 76.---------------Like a lot of journos their profile pic was often an old snap from years ago,RIP.


RIP Paul.

Report dave1357 January 31, 2021 2:26 PM GMT
Report saddo January 31, 2021 2:29 PM GMT
RIP. I had to smile at Down's 3 long paragraphs about the virtues of brevity, no offence.
Report ribero1 January 31, 2021 2:31 PM GMT
Can I add myself to the list who are amazed he was 76.
Report blunder January 31, 2021 2:37 PM GMT
a sad day indeed,another "character" gone .Leaves this world a greyer place.
Report onlooker January 31, 2021 4:11 PM GMT
76 - yes, something of a surprise.

Turns out that ... When he 'Resigned' from the Racing Post in 2009 .... He was 65.

Used to post on here as - Zorro.
Report sparrow January 31, 2021 4:14 PM GMT
Thanks onlooker as I was trying to remember his username on here.
Report know all January 31, 2021 4:28 PM GMT
rip great writer the post lost a good un
Report San Quentin January 31, 2021 4:31 PM GMT
Life can be cruel RIP
So many true characters in racing gone now.
Report elisjohn January 31, 2021 4:35 PM GMT
didnt he , kind of make some cryptic clues about his tip for every  group1 races  in his column ?
Report Tiger Tiger January 31, 2021 4:38 PM GMT
Report elisjohn January 31, 2021 4:40 PM GMT
picture of him in racing post, doesnt look much older than 50.
Report jimnast January 31, 2021 4:42 PM GMT
johnny mustang who use to post on here is a good friend of his ,he has not posted for quite a while i hope he is ok.
Report halcyon days January 31, 2021 4:44 PM GMT
One of the few Racing journalists worth reading... RIP Paul .
Report ihal essex January 31, 2021 4:47 PM GMT
A rarity, an honest racing journo who refused to board the stinking steaming gravy train frequented by so many of his profession, fearlessly spoke the truth and made to pay a heavy price for his honesty! R.I.P
Report GLASGOWCALLING January 31, 2021 4:50 PM GMT
All these years and I never realised he posted as " Zorro ".  RIP.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 5:31 PM GMT
Not only a journalistic loss,a man who stood by his opinions and principles.Just spent 25 minutes explaining but Unauthorised AGAIN?

It gets worse this Forum with the mods being recruited from CBBC? Could be the RP did not like the content as staffed by the same agency,knew Paul from 1988 and regularly conversed through the 90s,often opposing each other,a fair bit went into his columns.

I have somewhere a few fax sheets he sent for approval knowing full well he was saying up yours.Mentioned him many times on here over the years,always with respect and reverence for his writing ability,above any others including Sir Clement and Big Mac.
Report JML January 31, 2021 5:59 PM GMT
very sad news---RIP
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 6:11 PM GMT
See if we can correct the RP et al?

He did not want a Tote Monopoly despite the well known facade'.

He said may times "Why would I want a bunch of idiots deciding the value of my bet and returns? All he meant was a stronger Tote with profits going back to racing,he cited Australia as a workable model.

Signing off here and starting another post in case the CBBC decide it should not be heard.
Report mmmalushka January 31, 2021 6:21 PM GMT
His take on cheltenham preview forums.

Just about every pub or club in Britain and Ireland has had its Cheltenham preview forum in the last few days - most of them offering little more than turgid repetitions of received wisdom from the so-called experts.

These events are enjoyable for members of the audience primarily because they can rely on the fact that the subject of conversation will not wander too far from the one upon which their own minds are now obsessively focused.

But they also pay their few quid partly because they like to see in the flesh people with some reputation in racing, and partly because they hope that at least one of the panelists will reinforce their own pre-formed opinions by announcing that he or she shares them.

A few pints for everyone, a brown envelope each for the `celebs', and everyone goes home happy, if not obviously in any better condition to do battle with the enemy than they would have been if they'd stayed at home and spent the same amount of time on the form book.

Very occasionally, the experience becomes memorable for some other reason than the opportunity it affords fans to discover exactly how many **** this retired trainer can smoke without his lungs imploding, exactly how much scotch that one can drink without his nose starting to bleed, and exactly how many times a very minor TV personality will let his eyes wander round the room in the hope of finding an expression of doting admiration on a female face that doesn't look as though it would be more at home at Cruft's.

Seldom, if ever, however, do these booze-sodden symposia reach levels of entertainment such as those achieved last night at the Mad Ferret public house in the usually sleepy Cotswold village of Much Ratting.

On the face of things there seemed little reason to expect anything more than the usual mix from a panel composed of former jump jockey Bob Nutter, self-styled professional punter Dave Boggis, lady racing novelist and woman about Lambourn `Dippy' Pugh-Beaver, and Irish training legend Seamus O'Bushmill - although some witnesses do insist that they spotted quite early a certain wildness in the eye of the chairman, veteran hack fallen on hard times and assiduous sucker-up to anyone with an even remotely famous name in racing, Ambrose Smarm.

There was no indication, though, of what was to follow when Smarm, with trademark unctuousness, introduced "my illustrious guests" and made the obligatory remarks about "this traditional rite of spring" and "the love we all share for this great game we call racing". There was, admittedly, a certain amount of heckling during this introduction, and cries from a person in moleskin britches of "Get on with it" and "Show us your arse". But once this troublemaker had been removed, everything proceeded much as expected until discussion moved to the evidently hugely controversial matter of the Champion Hurdle.

The record shows that it was Nutter who demonstrated his disagreement with Boggis's assertion that Rhinestone Cowboy was "completely different class and would absolutely ****ing **** it" by pouring a jug of iced water, whose function had until then appeared purely cosmetic, down the elasticated front of the punter's trousers.

Boggis, clearly enraged, first uttered wild cries of "If you think Rooster Booster's got a chance you're even worse at tipping than you ****ing were at riding", then retaliated by attacking the jockey with a plateful of seafood canaps. Pugh-Beaver, who apparently had once enjoyed a liaison with Nutter (although this by no means places him in a club of one) then threw herself on Boggis with frightening enthusiasm and a framed photograph of Hors La Loi.

O'Bushmill, meanwhile, leapt onto the table, flapped his arms and began chanting "Like-A-Butterfly", while the chairman, clearly unnerved by the turn of events, rushed to the bar, placed himself under an optic and began pumping it furiously until wrestled to the ground by the indignant landlord.

Quite how the fighting broke out in the audience is unclear, but Sgt Dredge, heading the investigative team, is said to be working on the theory that it was instigated by a bunch of football hooligans who described themselves as `The Intersky Falcon Posse'.

There are at present no clues as to who started the fire. What is not in doubt is that it was soon out of control and that `The Ferret', beneath whose timbers 30 generations had slaked their thirst, was quickly reduced to a smouldering ruin: a funeral pyre indeed to the whole concept of `the useful and lively exchange of views' so optimistically promised in advance publicity

Fondly remembered.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 6:22 PM GMT
Another 20 minutes posting some truths denied by mods.

An insult to Paul IMVO!!
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 6:35 PM GMT
MMlushka,that was typical Paul.Seems like I am forbidden to mention anything to do with Wyatt,the Lords or any other entity he had an opinion on?

Hereupon call upon the trolls to bring up any threads concerning Paul including myself and Zorro,you seem to be able to conjure up things when it suits you,so how about a legend?

Report sparrow January 31, 2021 6:35 PM GMT
jimnast 31 Jan 21 17:42 
johnny mustang who use to post on here is a good friend of his ,he has not posted for quite a while i hope he is ok.

I was thinking the same about Johnny Mustang who is an excellent poster and yes I do hope all is well with him.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 6:37 PM GMT
What di Johnny Mustang have to do with PH Sparrow?
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 6:38 PM GMT
ZILCH............btw,I think I am confident in saying?
Report sparrow January 31, 2021 6:56 PM GMT
glentoby 31 Jan 21 19:37 
What di Johnny Mustang have to do with PH Sparrow?

I suggest you read jimnast's post at 1742. HTH.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 7:03 PM GMT
I did and Paul never mentioned Johnny Mustang which is why I questioned it? Do you think Paul was also Johnny?
Report sparrow January 31, 2021 7:11 PM GMT
I don't know toby, but I sincerely hope not.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 7:26 PM GMT
Ditto sparrow,one of the vagaries of this Forum.Too many users who have deviated,Paul never did.He was struggling at the time of Zorro.

I can tell you though,it was him that first questioned Urbina and the Chin&.
Report sparrow January 31, 2021 7:37 PM GMT
Oscar Urbina....Would that be the race on the AW where the race was highlighted for corruption of some sort?  I have now forgotten what actually happened.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 8:01 PM GMT
More than one race Sparrow,Chung et al,I was told I was talking bollox at the time by a troll or two,Urbina now rides work for Godolphin.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 8:02 PM GMT
I was offered £500k to lay 11 races,no questions asked. 2006 or 07,not sure,I refused.
Report comingupthehill January 31, 2021 8:28 PM GMT
RIP Paul. He died of a broken heart. Never got over deep impact not winning the arc.

Great international column in the weekender.
Report verbotene liebe January 31, 2021 8:47 PM GMT
Along with Tony Morris, the best writer ever to be employed by the RP imo. Was reading his articles right back when he started at Pacemaker and he produced some thought provoking material even though he held a hard to fathom  hostility towards jump racing, and also wanted a round course built at Newmarket. Was in a difficult position at the time when the RP wanted three articles a week from him as no matter how talented he was, this was always going to result in plenty of  'filler' This is grim news and there are hardly any decent writers around now, the profession being taken over by no marks.
Report glentoby January 31, 2021 9:14 PM GMT
I have found 1 of the fax sheets Paul sent me and it is so tongue in cheek but believable that some may have believed he was simply a clown.It does however reflect that he had his finger on the pulse of the racing scene at the time,will try and photograph the page and post it.

For me it summed him up as an individual who could fool most of the people all of the time.SillyCool
Report windsor knot January 31, 2021 11:44 PM GMT
21.47 poster on it ....haigh was much quicker onto the hk/ japan infuence of international racing than anyone . he was also bold, brave ...much missed.
Report smirnoff2therescue February 1, 2021 12:00 AM GMT
he was also the driver of the horsebox for the famous 5 long b4 he came a journo....

R.I.P. Paul
Report jimnast February 1, 2021 9:32 AM GMT
good morning sparrow

just to be clear i was not suggesting jm and ph were the same person in fact i know for certain they were not.
Report jimnast February 1, 2021 9:34 AM GMT
good morning smirnoff

was that the dickinson 5 ?
Report sparrow February 1, 2021 9:35 AM GMT
Good morning jimnast. I know for certain you wasn't suggesting any such thing.
Report jimnast February 1, 2021 9:43 AM GMT
i didnt think you did ,
Report Ramruma February 1, 2021 9:45 AM GMT
@verbotene liebe is right about the Racing Post killing the goose... Impossible to keep standards up over three columns a week.

And that the quality of writing is not what it was. Analysis is better, but we need elegant writers too.
Report Captain carnage February 1, 2021 12:04 PM GMT
RIP I enjoyed his columns discussing politics and the actual racing.
I would be bored to tears though with his filler columns of made up characters, mythical figures giving tips etc.
Report bluebook February 1, 2021 12:17 PM GMT
Sh*t !

Never realised Zorro was Paul Haigh !
Report alans February 1, 2021 2:28 PM GMT
Very sad to learn of Paul's death. One of the best writers Racing Post ever had in my view, intelligent, informed, provocative, amusing, courageous, compassionate, perhaps the only negative being his lack of interest in jump-racing, but different strokes etc...I spoke to him on the phone a good few times in the 1990s, but met him only once. At the festival meeting at Killarney one year. He was doing a colour piece, and was great company in the press room for a couple of days. That's when he wasn't on the phone to bookmakers. He was betting like a maniac, small sums for the most part, but typically several bets in the same race, and what seemed like a hopelessly random approach, odd in someone with such a good mind who knew the game really well. I often wondered if he managed to curb this tendency when the exchanges came along. Anyway, I remember him fondly, and hope he enjoyed life after his exit from the Post. Like many other commenters I was surprised to discover his age. I had him down as around a decade younger. RIP
Report pablo-fanque February 1, 2021 2:30 PM GMT

sad news
Report Duncan Disordorli February 1, 2021 4:34 PM GMT
Sad news, a fine writer in an otherwise deadly dull newspaper journalist wise, Best since Jeffrey Bernard at the Life for me.
Report 1st time poster February 1, 2021 4:35 PM GMT
in general and no disrespect to anyone ,you tend to find those thinking people look a lot younger ,tend to need to use a bit of elbow crease on their mirror,s Wink
Report Happy Valley February 4, 2021 12:18 PM GMT
Not a dissenting voice in The House, essentially.

Paul was such a great guy, as well as a great writer and that's rare. He was brilliant father, too, and so incredibly humourous.
Report howard February 4, 2021 2:26 PM GMT
Very much enjoyed his work. Didn't he do one day reporting from the ring for the bbc ? Very brave to state he was no good. Most would have given other reasons for departure.
Report G Hall February 4, 2021 3:49 PM GMT
I still remember his column on the day after the 1992?? Arc which St Jovite ran in, it was an excellent piece. He was a tremendous writer.
Report metro john February 4, 2021 4:15 PM GMT
The master punter! R.I.P
Report custardcream64 February 4, 2021 6:09 PM GMT
Paul's resignation letter to the Racing Post summed up that comic to perfection.

RIP  Paul.
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