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13 Dec 22 10:14
Date Joined: 14 Jul 04
| Topic/replies: 60,253 | Blogger: GEORGE.B's blog
and he doesn't look a day over 40, that's what good clean living does for you!
Pause Switch to Standard View John Francome - 70 today
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Report Hayden December 13, 2022 10:40 AM GMT
Crikey that's crept up.

Only met him in person one weekend , we beat a channel 4 team in the final of a quiz at the Western meeting think it was Able Albert's year , he was magnanimous in defeat whereas Big Mac was quite the opposite , met him and the C4 team the following day at the race meeting as we seemingly had the freedom of Ayr following the Friday night win , we beat Sporting life in the semi final but can't remember whom we beat in the quarters , Nick Rust presented the trophy whilst he was still a bookmaker regional manager for that part of the world.

Every time i see Francome mentioned i think of the ride on Derring Rose at Ascot , hugging the inside on Rough and Tumble in the National and not so memorable was him being unshipped on Border Incident in the 1980 Gold Cup and quoting post race " We'd have won by a minute "

Good memories and think he's a good guy   Happy
Report jimnast December 13, 2022 10:41 AM GMT
Very down to earth probably help him along the way happy birthday to a decent lad.
Report formoftheace December 13, 2022 10:47 AM GMT
The one that got away regarding tv….bit like Ted Walsh but better mannered…
Report jackboo December 13, 2022 11:03 AM GMT
jamnast he was a crook , with banks the bookmaker , its funny how people forget , i hop he has a bad one
Report jimnast December 13, 2022 11:12 AM GMT
Ffs get a grip of yourself
Report GLASGOWCALLING December 13, 2022 11:15 AM GMT
Here you go Jackboo. ....
Report GLASGOWCALLING December 13, 2022 11:18 AM GMT
Didnt realise John Banks passed away nearly 20 yrs ago.!
Report formoftheace December 13, 2022 11:25 AM GMT
The stigma in racing….it always appears
Report formoftheace December 13, 2022 11:27 AM GMT
John Banks….his son Geoff is on twitter likes to bleet…
Report jimnast December 13, 2022 11:30 AM GMT
April 1977 francome suspended in the morning rode the gold cup winner in the afternoon Cool
Report GLASGOWCALLING December 13, 2022 11:35 AM GMT
Son of Banks posts on here also.
Report GLASGOWCALLING December 13, 2022 11:36 AM GMT
....... sportsadvisor.
Report stewarts rise December 13, 2022 11:38 AM GMT
Miss him on TV, was always good for a sexist remark, can't really have that now can we!
Report tantpis December 13, 2022 11:38 AM GMT
Remember Derring Rose winning at Cheltenham,real Dodgey horse,always wanted to pull itself up at halfway round a track.Francome got her covered up on the inside and managed to push along when she was trying to pull up,won the Stayers easily.
Report jimnast December 13, 2022 11:42 AM GMT
Owned by Peter saville
Report GEORGE.B December 13, 2022 11:43 AM GMT
By Eddie Freemantle, 2003

Banks did it his way
John Banks was flambouyant and controversial, racing has lost a friend.

Racing would be all the poorer without characters like John Banks. When the famous bookmaker died from cancer last week, aged 68, the betting fraternity lost one of its 'greats'. And Ladbrokes, sadly, lost an old foe.

After starting as a bookmaker at the Mount Vernon greyhound track in his native Glasgow, Banks soon established himself, in the 1960s, as one of the leading racecourse bookmakers of his generation. He was flamboyant, some would say flash, but there is no telling the respect he engendered in his fellow bookmakers and the punters. He was prepared to 'stand' horses for huge amounts, and famously lost £60,000 when Persian War won the 1970 Champion Hurdle. In the same month, he might have lost nearly three times as much on the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, but just escaped.

In a prep race for Cheltenham, Persian War had run against Orient War, one of Banks's many horses, at Nottingham. Orient War's jockey told Banks that he could hear Persian War gurgling up the home straight, and that persuaded Banks to lay him heavily for the Champion. Banks, always outwardly magnanimous in defeat, was dining in the Queen's Hotel in Cheltenham on the evening after the Champion Hurdle, and sent over a bottle of champagne to Henry Alper, Persian War's owner who was at another table.

A few days later Banks was more successful - but he had to sweat. When Prince de Galles was favourite for the Lincoln, Banks fielded against him to such an extent that he stood to lose £156,000. Lester Piggott failed by a neck to land the gamble, and Banks had one of several notable victories over Ladbrokes, and their supremo Cyril Stein, who had been among the biggest backers of Prince de Galles.

Banks was extremely active off-course with 34 betting shops, which he referred to as 'money factories'. He sold them to Mecca in 1972 for a reputed £1 million. David McAllister, his right-hand man at the time, recalls some of the pioneering markets Banks established from his head office in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. 'He introduced handicap betting on the football and when Muhammad Ali fought Sonny Liston we stayed open through the night. He took bets on Come Dancing . In 1965, John even bet on when Goldie the eagle would be caught after he escaped from London Zoo.'

Banks was the master of self-publicity. He gave out yellow badges at the races, 'John Banks is my bookie', and would travel to the track by yellow Rolls Royce, E-type Jaguar or private plane.

Before his infamous 'warning off' for three years from 1978 for paying the jockey John Francome for information, Banks dominated the betting rings of the 1960s and 1970s, something that intensely annoyed Stein at Ladbrokes. Stein set out to put Banks in his place, and failed.

A story told by one of Banks's racecourse employees of the time, Jim Murphy, sums up that period. As much as Stein tried, Banks was one step ahead. Stein was using another bookmaker to send money back to the course to affect the market, but Banks worked this out and decided to do something about it. At one Newcastle meeting, a Banks horse, Thika, was down to run. The night before the race, Banks instructed McAllister to ring the suspect bookie first thing in the morning. McAllister was to place a bet of £100 on Thika. If Banks was right about the bookie's links with Ladbrokes, the bookie would be sure to contact Stein to tell him about the bet. Banks was expecting Stein to put two and two together and make five. And he was right.

It was the early stages of betting at the track and Ladbrokes reps were running around the ring backing Thika. One approached Banks himself, asking for £2,000 at 7-2. Banks played coy and laid 7-2 to £50. This made the rep even more certain that Banks was backing his own horse, so he asked for £2,000 at the new price of 3-1. Another £50 was laid. The price was now 5-2. Once again Stein's man went in, asking for '£5,000 to £2,000'. 'It's a bet,' said Banks.

The message came for the Ladbrokes men to put more money on Thika.

'What's the price now?' one asked Banks. 'Three to one,' he replied, and turned his back to face the members' enclosure. The price started to go out to 4-1, then 5-1 and Stein's employees panicked. One of them got on the blower: 'The horse is drifting now, what should we do?'

'Of course it is drifting, Banks must have backed it at starting price. Put more money on,' was the office's response. Thika trailed in down the field. Stein and Ladbrokes had been routed.

Other bookies took a pasting, too. When Banks's pilot, a former Qantas man called John Grindon, became well known around the tracks, Banks had an idea for a ruse at Thirsk. Banks asked Grindon: 'You know Mr Joyce, the bookmaker? He was with us in the plane the other day. Go and have a fiver on my horse, Stardale, with him.'

Grindon was rather distinctive in the betting ring in his full pilot's uniform. Joyce fell for the ploy and sent his men round the ring backing Stardale. When Stardale ran appallingly, it was not only Joyce who was distressed. Grindon told Banks: 'I thought you knew more about this business, I lost a fiver on that.'

'But I gave you the fiver!' said Banks, who had had a good bet on the winner, at odds augmented by the bogus gamble on Stardale.

When Banks returned from his enforced exile - he appealed against his ban but failed - his flamboyance and brashness had gone. He had toned down his act, kept out of the public eye and many thought he had been tamed. But he had, as one of his daughters, Sandy, puts it 'discovered life', spending more time with his family and taking up golf.

After his return to the course in 1981, he may have been less noticeable, but was still razor sharp, as two members of the betting fraternity discovered on a train from London to York. A noted backer, Johnny 'Lights' Hurndall, and bookmaker John Jenkins were looking for someone to play cards and Banks volunteered.

'What are you playing?' he said.

'Kalookie,' said Lights.

'I'm not sure I know that one. How many cards do you get?' asked Banks.

'Thirteen, John. Are you in?'

'I'm in,' came the reply.

By Peterborough, the game was over. Lights and Jenkins had not a penny between them, and as they arrived at the track in York, Lights was moaning to Murphy: 'I haven't got any readies, so I'm going to have to have all my bets on credit. He's a bit lucky at cards is Banko.' Murphy intimated that luck may not have played much of a part.

But Banks had a problem. His clerk, the man who wrote down the bets, had not turned up. Murphy had the solution: 'Lights knows how to clerk.'

So Lights ate humble pie and clerked for Banks all day. Six races, six winning races for the bookmaker. On the train home, Banks handed his substitute member of staff his wages for the day: £1,800. Lights' eyes nearly popped out of his head.

Banks continued to lay frighteningly big bets. His son, Geoffrey, now a rails' bookmaker in his own right, recalls a day at the 1990 Cheltenham Festival. 'He laid an each-way bet on a 66-1 shot, New Halen, in the last race on the second day to another bookmaker, and it won. He lost £62,500 on that one bet, but you wouldn't have known it. He was quite fearless and cracked away for the rest of the meeting. He finished up winning good money. There never was a bookmaker like him for turning things in his favour.'

When throat cancer took hold, Banks did not want nurses. He insisted that his wife, Anne Marie, and daughters nurse him. After all, as his daughter Joanna, speaking at his memorial service last Thursday, said: 'He was rather accustomed to getting his own way.'
Report Hayden December 13, 2022 11:54 AM GMT
Good 46:30 watch if you're a Francome fan , includes THE ride on Sea Pigeon , couple of masterclasses on the quirky Little Bay , host of big race wins on the great Burrough Hill Lad as well as some interviews and some humour thrown in.
Report acey deucy December 13, 2022 12:11 PM GMT
They say never meet your Heroes,well i did and he is an even bigger Hero.Grin
Report acey deucy December 13, 2022 12:12 PM GMT
Even played Tennis with him once and he wiped the floor with me.Laugh
Report HallGreenSpy December 13, 2022 12:12 PM GMT
There's a piece on the RP website for members with regards to the dilution of Cheltenham by Francome if anybody could be as kind to post. Fwiw, loved him as a pundit.
Report second again December 13, 2022 12:12 PM GMT
A great jockey,and a great storyteller,happy birthday John.
Report acey deucy December 13, 2022 12:15 PM GMT
The classic story he tells about Chris Grant still makes me laugh.LaughLaughLaugh
Report TheAnorak December 13, 2022 12:39 PM GMT
I've posted this on here before, a profile of Francome by Hugh McIlvanney, shown on the BBC during coverage of a Cheltenham meeting the day after he announced his retirement.
Report sixtwosix December 13, 2022 12:48 PM GMT
Always been the best national hunt jockey in my lifetime.
Report sixtwosix December 13, 2022 12:49 PM GMT
I recall him riding Bula in a chase and had never heard of him , wondering if he was any good .....not too shabby it turns out.
Report acey deucy December 13, 2022 12:50 PM GMT
Best Jockey i have ever seen till Ruby came along....I cant split them.Grin
Report formoftheace December 13, 2022 12:57 PM GMT
Quite a few who never had the same connections (horsemen) Jeff King and Ian Watkinson were a couple to mention..and Francome would agree..
Report jimnast December 13, 2022 1:04 PM GMT

I was once asked about ruby walsh when he first started and to be honest all I really knew about him was he was teds son so my flippant reply was how can he be any good with a name like that.
Report casemoney December 13, 2022 1:32 PM GMT
The Xmas Dinner GrinLaugh
Report Andriy December 13, 2022 1:33 PM GMT
There's also the 'Once In A Lifetime' documentary about him, made over the course of his final season , if you've a spare hour.
Report Hayden December 13, 2022 1:43 PM GMT

That clip i posted at 11:54 starts with him on Bula beating The Dikler.
Report sixtwosix December 13, 2022 1:53 PM GMT
great stuff Hayden
Report stu December 13, 2022 2:07 PM GMT
Miss him on TV, was always good for a sexist remark, can't really have that now can we!

Very true stewarts - miss the old days when we could hear his comments like 'checking out the fillies closely today' Laugh and his explanation for why horses were gelded - 'don't want to leave your wedding tackle behind' Laugh
Report sixtwosix December 13, 2022 2:09 PM GMT
Bula , Wayward Lad , Sea Pigeon , Burrough Hill Lad , Brown Chamberlain .........that is some list to have won on........
Report formoftheace December 13, 2022 2:13 PM GMT
Quite a lot of point and shoot material
Report Hayden December 13, 2022 2:23 PM GMT
Just watching the Desert Orchid story on RUK for the umpteenth time , felt like i was the only person on the planet hollering for Yahoo that gold cup day.
Report Storm Alert December 13, 2022 2:37 PM GMT
casemone The Xmas Dinner

Laugh My favourite was when he called Derek Thompson a "****" on the morning line. A reference to Thompson's cricket prowess apparently. It used to be on you-tube but sadly I can't find any clip of it today.
Report sixtwosix December 13, 2022 2:39 PM GMT
Just watching the Desert Orchid story on RUK for the umpteenth time , felt like i was the only person on the planet hollering for Yahoo that gold cup day.

Nope I was too ...on each way at 25s on the only true mudlark in the field.
Report Storm Alert December 13, 2022 2:40 PM GMT
Report punchestown December 13, 2022 8:48 PM GMT
Brilliant jockey and his slow delivery on TV punditry disguised a wicked sense of humour.
Report windsor knot December 13, 2022 9:10 PM GMT
if you wanted the the perfect jump jockey you would have mc coy's strength , ruby's tactical awareness and francome's ability to present at an obstacle .
Report longbridge December 13, 2022 9:14 PM GMT
It cannot have harmed his writing career that "Francome"-authored books were on bookshop shelves immediately adjacent to "Francis"-authored ones?

Glad he is still going.
Report leif December 13, 2022 9:16 PM GMT
Jump off Johnny would put the woke tv producers on valium.

used to enjoy the stick he gave John MccririckSilly
Report jackboo December 14, 2022 2:06 PM GMT
so you must like it to be f@@ked by him as well as loseing ur money
Report JulioMariner227 December 14, 2022 6:13 PM GMT
Was always a big fan of Francome as a's true he might have kept some dubious company from time to time!..I guess that's why we love the's full of duckers and divers! I remember when he came up to Ayr one year for the Scottish National meeting, he rode a horse for GWR in a novice handicap hurdle called Noddys Ryde.On entering the track that day, I had been told by one of the auld gateman who I knew well that I had to back one of Tommy Craig's horses ( High Hills?) in the the same race as Noddys Ryde...he said all the staff had been told to back it by Craig. I didn't back it, I backed Noddys beat Tommy Craigs in a close finish! Then, bing bong, a Stewards Inquiry announced.To everyone's astonishment...GWR's horse was demoted and Craig's horse awarded the race....looks like the Stewards had taken the tip and backed it themselves...what a game!!I read Francome's autobiography a few years later and he said the Stewards decision was disgraceful and said that he'd never ridden at Ayr again! I noticed in an earlier post, that HAYDEN mentioned Able Albert winning the Gold Cup in 1984. I was there that day and managed to back it. As I recall, Able Albert raced  alone for the final two furlongs up against the stands side rail...the racecourse commentator never saw it...never gave it a mention...and called Alakh the winner on the far side.I had seen Able Albert's solo run and knew the commentator had dropped a bollock...but I saw numerous Able Albert backers throw their bookies tickets away! Then after a few seconds, the Judge called Alakh the winner....he must have been listening to the course commentator!!! Then shortly after that, the Judge came back on the PA to announce.."Haud the result"!!! What a game, indeed !!!
Report onlooker December 14, 2022 6:57 PM GMT
You are correct - Julio Mariner

Although this Video commentary is by Graham Goode on CH4 ...

The confusion caused by the Judge manifests itself in the after-race summary  - starting at 3min 0secs onwards.
Report saxon farm December 14, 2022 7:06 PM GMT
1984 Ayr Gold Cup
Bob Speer (a lovely man) was racecourse judge that day… and COMPLETELY missed Able Albert who came alone down the stands rail to win.
Graham Goode (channel 4 commentator) NOT racecourse commentator, was amazed the Eddery horse was called the winner & a photo called for just the places.
It’s on YouTube and 10 seconds after the finish you can vaguely hear a course bookie yelling “I’ll lay evens Allaq” the Eddery horse.
Report saxon farm December 14, 2022 7:09 PM GMT
Nice one onlooker
You beat me to it!
Report Try My Best December 14, 2022 7:30 PM GMT
The rides on Uncle Bing in the Topham and Wayward Lad in the King George my two favourites. How on earth he wasn't killed when Golden Wrapper buried him at Bechers I will never know.
Report the dealer December 14, 2022 7:36 PM GMT
Great read
Report saxon farm December 14, 2022 7:41 PM GMT
The Uncle Bing ride was as good as I have seen around those Aintree fences.
NB Fred Winter on Kilmore 1962 Grand National.
Report JulioMariner227 December 14, 2022 8:53 PM GMT
Onlooker... Ive been trying to remember who the racecourse commentator was when Able Albert won...might it have been dear, old Raleigh Gilbert, or maybe Robin Grey? Saxon Farm...I take it your "nom de plume" is named after Stan Mellors Daily Express Triumph Hurdle winner...must have done you a good turn!!
Report A_T December 14, 2022 9:19 PM GMT
didn't his mrs run off with Charlie Brooks - who somehow ended up with that awful woman from the tabloids
Report jimnast December 14, 2022 9:22 PM GMT
Yes Miriam ended up with Charlie a_t

Remember the able Albert race well in the days the Ayr gold cup was a Friday.
Report gpz6316 December 14, 2022 9:36 PM GMT
I think the story maybe in the "wayward lad " from memory
Report saxon farm December 14, 2022 9:43 PM GMT
Correct apart that I only had £120/10 but the story is not for these pages.
Report onlooker December 14, 2022 10:43 PM GMT

The - straight up the Stands Rail Ayr Gold Cup - was likewise on a Friday - when the wonderful ROMAN WARRIOR humped 10 stone to victory ...

- and, likewise - the equally likeable LOCHSONG led up the Stands rail  - with, four years later - COASTAL BLUFF completing the Stewards Cup Ayr Gold Cup double, in similar style.

Great days. Happy
Report michael59 December 14, 2022 11:15 PM GMT
miriam was a babe back in the day . i wonder if shes aged as well as he has
Report acey deucy December 14, 2022 11:26 PM GMT
I saw her not that long ago....Still drop dead goyjus.....I dont think Francome ever got over her but i might be wrong.Grin
Report lockup December 14, 2022 11:42 PM GMT
love the story abt when him and Smith-Eccles rode in a chase at Chepstow in thick fog the winner went clear and they were battling for 2nd Francome jumped the last 4 fences Smith -Eccles went on the outside of them all and beat him a neck for 2nd nobody saw a thing.but he was a great jockey.
Report jimnast December 15, 2022 8:11 AM GMT
Good morning onlooker

Indeed great days pollys brother and joveworth were my two favourite winners in those days,regarding lochsong I wonder what happened to the jockey who rode him that day.
Report formoftheace December 15, 2022 9:45 AM GMT
Rough and Tumble in the National….more of a horseman he points out a lot of things that annoy him watching some of today’s riders….true horseman notice these things….
Report G Hall December 15, 2022 11:27 AM GMT
He once said about Miriam
"I'd eat chips out of her knickers"
Report jimnast December 15, 2022 11:41 AM GMT
So would I if I ever got the chance
Report acey deucy December 15, 2022 12:07 PM GMT
Anybody remember that Francome story about Chris Grants Mother and she aint got no hands punchline? LaughLaughLaugh
Report G Hall December 16, 2022 1:09 AM GMT
Yeah really funny
Report formoftheace December 16, 2022 9:24 AM GMT
Remember Big Mac telling the story about the person with the pet pig…..Why would anyone he said ? Francome replied if you get fed up with it ‘you can always eat it’….

McGrath was bawling with laughter…
Report Dr Crippen December 16, 2022 11:33 AM GMT
He wasn't much good as a trainer.
Report brigust1 December 16, 2022 11:36 AM GMT
I heard that John was so fed up with the amount of time Miriam was with Charlie he gathered up all of her things, put them in bags, took them to Charlie's and left them on his driveway.
Report formoftheace December 16, 2022 11:44 AM GMT
And shouted ‘if your sh@going her you can keep her’….allegedly
Report formoftheace December 16, 2022 11:45 AM GMT
Report G Hall December 16, 2022 11:47 AM GMT
A man's man
Report acey deucy December 16, 2022 12:37 PM GMT
He owns Clive Cox's yard and has a Mansion on the place, he used to let us lads use his Swimming pool and Tennis Court whenever we liked....That is the sort of Man he is.Grin
Report acey deucy December 16, 2022 12:38 PM GMT
And he would bring us out cold drinks when we got thirsty.LaughLaugh
Report formoftheace December 16, 2022 12:41 PM GMT
And shovel concrete during putting in the foundation
Report acey deucy December 16, 2022 12:45 PM GMT
When i was there he would ride one Horse a Day then it would either be digging a hole or up on a roof.Laugh
Report G Hall December 16, 2022 7:24 PM GMT
We're his novels any good?
Report acey deucy December 16, 2022 7:36 PM GMT
I dont know but his tipping was on a par with Gaze.Laugh
Report FOYLESWAR December 16, 2022 7:46 PM GMT
cnrt remember the ecxact details but francs told  the story about when he and a fellow jockey  or mate were on a plane going abroad somewhere and had seats next to each other ,francs mate fell asleep ,after a hour or so francs wakes  the still sleepy mate up and francombe has got the life jacket and oxygen mask on to say his mate was scared shytless .
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