One of the most anticipated events of the British sporting calendar, the Cheltenham Festival came out of the traps today.
Already Cinders and Ashes, at 10-1, won the first of 27 races over the four-day meeting. Ridden by jockey Jason Maguire, the horse emerged strongly round the final bend before negotiating the final hurdle with ease.
But for Channel 4 viewers, the arrival of the Festival comes at the cost of Countdown (although not Deal Or No Deal), so aficionados of That Guy From The Apprentice and Rachel Riley are instead treated to John McCririck.
But they could have it so, so much better. Why? Well, Alan Partridge, that's why.
Alan at the races:
A seasoned sports commentator during his pre-chat show days on The Day Today, Partridge has introduced many memorable phrases into the sporting lexicon.
"Liquid football", "eat my goal" and "Thriiiiiker" may rarely be aired by the 21st century commentator, but we like to think that was out of respect to Partridge's pioneering.
Yet his day at a rain-sodden race meeting arguably ranks as his finest television impression. Mixing with spectators, commentating on the races and interviewing the jockeys, his tireless endeavouring to report on the sport and ask the questions that matter are held in high esteem nearly 20 years on.
So in tribute to sport's favourite lost commentator, here are two of his other most memorable moments behind the mike.
WARNING: There is some strong language
Alan's enthusiasm and Colemanball-esque style won over viewers tuning into a 90's Sandown meeting:
When commentating at the 1990 World Cup, Alan's enthusiasm and spontaneity won over viewers, but not television censors...
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