Former BBC racing commentator and correspondent Peter Bromley died last Tuesday, aged 74, after battling cancer.
He had worked as the corporation’s racing correspondent for 41 years. During his career he commentated on 202 Classic races and only retired after the 2001 Epsom Derby. After serving in the army, Bromley began his racing career as an assistant to trainer Frank Pullen and occasional amateur jockey – although this was curtailed by injury.
He turned to racing commentary, giving his first BBC Radio commentary at Newmarket in 1959. Later that year he became the BBC racing correspondent – the first sports correspondent ever appointed by the corporation.
As a commentator, Bromley was known for his distinctive voice and his ability to pace a commentary, building to a climax at the finish of a race.
Among his memorable commentaries were Shergar’s runaway victory in the 1981 Derby (“You’ll need a telescope to see the rest!”), and the emotional victory of Aldaniti and Bob Champion, the jockey who had beaten cancer, in the Grand National in the same year, which reduced Peter and most of his listeners to tears.
He was also known for his meticulous preparation, producing his own racecard detailing the jockeys’ colours and other important details.
On his retirement, Bromley was presented with a special trophy by Lester Piggott. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed thousands of races, but all good things must come to an end,” said the commentator.
Peter Salmon, the BBC’s director of sport, said: “Peter Bromley set the gold standard for horse racing commentary on British radio.
“His voice and expertise defined the sport for audiences. Our thoughts go to his family who will miss him dearly, though the loss will be felt by millions of radio listeners too.” Cornelius Lysaght, BBC Radio’s current racing correspondent, also paid tribute: “Bromley described in an unmistakable way a powerful, colourful sport and in doing so converted many people to racing.”
Former champion jockey Willie Carson remembered Bromley as “the most amazing man”. He said: “I’ve got a tape at home with me winning the 200th Derby on Troy, and to me hearing his voice was just fantastic – winning my first Derby. That will be a memory that will go with me to the grave That was my first Derby and his voice was just magic.”