Racing: Peter Bromley, radio's voice of racing, dies at 74

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The Independent Online

Peter Bromley, BBC Radio's voice of racing for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 74. Bromley retired after commentating on Galileo's Derby victory in 2001, the last of 202 Classic winners that he called home.

Sir Peter O'Sullevan, the former BBC television commentator, last night led the tributes to Bromley, underlining the work he did not just for broadcasting but for the whole of the sport of horse racing.

"Peter and I worked a long time together," O'Sullevan said. "In 1958 he was working for a television company and he had an opportunity to go to radio. But Peter Dimmock, who was in charge of outside broadcasts at that time, told him to stay on TV and not to go to radio because Peter O'Sullevan would not go on for ever and he would be next in line," he explained. We had a running joke for many years afterwards that he would have been the longest-serving understudy in broadcasting.

"He was a good broadcaster and a good advocate for racing in general, not just for commentating.

Bromley's broadcasting role began when injury curtailed his career as an amateur jockey and he gave his first BBC Radio commentary at Newmarket on 13 May, 1959.

He commentated on his first Derby in 1961 when the 66-1 chance Psidium sprang a surprise.

Bromley's career behind the microphone was virtually uninterrupted as he called all the Derbys between 1961 and 2001. He worked for the Light Programme, Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live when the BBC had a contract with the Racecourse Association to cover all the big races.

Peter Salmon, director of BBC Sport, was one of a number of broadcasting figures to acknowledge Bromley's contribution. "He set the gold standard for horse racing commentary on British Radio," he said. "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."

Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio Five Live, added: "He was one of the giants of sports broadcasting whose incredible voice became the hallmark of Saturday afternoon radio listening for millions."

Bromley had retired to Suffolk to continue his hobby of training gun dogs. He suffered from pancreatic cancer for the past 15 months and leaves a wife, Joanna, and three daughters.

Balakheri at Chantilly

Balakheri, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is among 11 acceptors for the Group Two Grand Prix de Chantilly on Sunday. Eric Libaud's Ange Gabriel, the Hong Kong Vase winner, spearheads a tough domestic defence of the Chantilly feature.

Godolphin's Blatant is the sole British acceptor in the Group Three Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord over mile on the same card.

Three British-trained fillies have stood their ground at the latest declaration stage for Sunday's Prix de Diane (French Oaks). The Godolphin pair, Gonfilia and Mezzo Soprano, plus John Dunlop's Time Ahead are the only remaining runners after Casual Look, Geminiani and Hi Dubai were withdrawn after being declared for the Oaks at Epsom.

The list of domestic acceptors includes Pascal Bary's Six Perfections, who was a most unlucky runner-up in both the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas. Criquette Head-Maarek's Prix Saint-Alary winner Fidelite and the French 1,000 Guineas winner Musical Chimes have also been declared.