Sir Peter O’Sullevan, the “Voice of Racing”, has died at the age of 97.
He died peacefully at home in London today (Wednesday 29 July).
The legendary commentator called more than 14,000 races over 50 years in his career.
As a journalist Sir Peter was also racing correspondent of the Daily Express for 36 years and worked for the Press Association, as well as working for BBC radio.
He will be forever associated with the Grand National and commentated on the famous race 50 times for the BBC.
One of his most memorable was calling Red Rum home in the final of the horse’s famous three victories in 1977. He also commentated on the Aldaniti and Bob Champion’s emotional victory in 1981.
Sir Peter called the Grand National for the last time in 1997. The last race ever to be set to his voice was the Hennessy in November of that year, won by Suny Bay.
Sir Peter enjoyed good health into his 90s, he even drove himself to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting in Paris in October 2012.
A great lover of the sport he was also a successful owner, winning the 1967 King’s Stand Stakes at Ascot with Be Friendly and the 1974 Triumph Hurdle with Attivo.
Sir Peter was knighted in 1997 and later that year, he set up the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, which has raised more than £4m for charities in the past 19 years.
The charities include: Blue Cross, The Brooke, Compassion in World Farming, World Horse Welfare, Racing Welfare and The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.
He was also vice president of World Horse Welfare.
“Our hearts go out to Sir Peter’s family, friends and associates who know so well that he was a one-off, a man of extraordinary ability and generosity. The impact of Sir Peter in racing is legendary, but he deserves similar — if not greater — recognition for his influence in advancing the welfare of horses,” said World Horse Welfare chairman Barry Johnson.
Roly Owers, chief Executive of World Horse Welfare added: “Not only has Sir Peter been a tireless supporter since childhood for our campaign to stop the long-distance transport of horses across Europe for slaughter, but not many know that Sir Peter was also the inspiration behind the launch of our international programmes 30 years ago, which have since helped hundreds of thousands of working horses in developing countries around the world.”