When excitable, orange-faced Matt Chapman vanished from TV channel At The Races recently, many of his fans – the newspaper journalist turned broadcaster has his own fan club – were convinced he was set to join the cast of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.
The rumour gathered steam on many online racing forums but, alas, Chapman was not bound for the Australian jungle.
In fact, his sudden absence from TV screens may be not unconnected to less-than-flattering comments he made live on air about the performance of an Irish jump jockey, Keith Clarke, whose horse, a well-backed 9-2 second favourite, could finish only 19th out of 20 runners in a hurdle race at Cork on November 2.
Chapman is usually very well informed but on this occasion he had overlooked one key detail in Mr Clarke’s CV: when not competing as a jockey he is a â€¦ solicitor.
Ten days later, Chapman read out an apology to Clarke on At The Races â€¦ and has not been seen on the channel since.
In his apology, Chapman said he accepted ‘that my criticisms of him were unfounded and I should not have made them’and that ‘I had no reason to question Mr Clarke’s commitment during the course of his ride”.
The sport’s trade paper, the Racing Post, has since quoted the boss of At The Races as saying Chapman was ‘simply taking a break, having exceeded the number of days he should have worked’and “will be back in two or three weeks’ time”.
For those viewers missing their daily fix of the Tango Kid, Axegrinder is happy to provide a picture of their hero looking suitably, er, bronzed, one of him looking relaxed and one of him very relaxed indeed.