Posted: January 1st, 2007
Dave Phillips had a simple claim to fame. He was the man who made the Daily Mirror”s racing pages the best in Fleet Street.
They were so good that some betting shops pinned them up on their walls alongside the spread out pages of The Sporting Life.
From the moment he joined the Mirror from the specialist Timeform stable in the late 60s, Dave”s ambition was to make Mirror readers the best informed of any racing fans among popular newspaper readers.
In the days before race-planners swamped the sport with too many fixtures he gave every horse a rating and analysed each race with a few paragraphs of succinct, expert comment called Spotform. It soon developed an army of faithful readers.
With Dave as racing editor and the Mirror”s well-informed chief tipster Bob Butchers (“Newsboy”) in his usual redoubtable form, and a team of outside reporters contributing a regular flow of exclusives, the Mirror readers never had it so good – before or since.
When Bob retired in 1985 Dave quit his long days running the racing desk and took over as “Newsboy”; which gave him an opportunity to fulfil a long-held desire to move to the West Country.
He and his wife Betty had more recently moved to the Isle of Wight where Dave died suddenly, aged 77, in June 2007.
Report and picture from FRANK THORNE
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