ALAN confessed that he was “really sad” when he heard this week that Ray Gilpin, one-time northern reporter for The Racing Post, had died.

“Ray was a great guy – a real gentleman,” said Alan. “He was a real professional and had an ear for a story, and in his latter years we used to always see him with his favourite red scarf ‘legging’ for Channel 4 and Racing UK. All the trainers and jockeys liked Ray and none of us would ever refuse him an interview. He’ll be a big loss to the sport and my thoughts go out to all his family.”