IRC Q&A: Nico Kritsiotis

Nico Kritsiotis has devoted most of his working life to the racing industry, making notable contributions in various capacities.

He started calling races at the age of 16 at Ascot Racecourse in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He attended the University Of Natal in Pietermaritzburg in 1989 and graduated with a B Comm degree in accounts. He started working at the old Clairwood Racecourse as a presenter for off-course racing in 1991. To back this up, he was the ground announcer at Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban for three years in the mid-nineties.

Nico moved to Johannesburg in 1996 and was appointed as a presenter at South Africa’s original IGN racing channel which developed into SuperTrack and later into Tellytrack – he served until 2015, holding the position of progamme manager between 2011 and 2011.

An astute caller on top of this, he commentated at Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Turffontein, Gosforth Park, Newmarket, Vaal, Arlington and Fairview from 1998. His career was interrupted by serious illness and a removal of both kidneys and dialysis from February 2010 to November 2011, when he had a successful kidney transplant.

He soon picked up where he left off, working as a VIP punter liaison executive and in the marketing department at Betting World between 2015 and 2020, setting up the Club Elite lounges in six branches.

Nico left the racing operator and started the ‘Clocking The Gallop’ channel on Youtube in May 2020 in the midst of lockdown with Neil Andrews. CTC has gone from strength to strength reaching 1.5 million views earlier this month, with just under 18000 unique viewers. He is also popular as an MC at racing and charity events.

Here is our Q&A with Nico Kritsiotis:

1. Full name? Nico Kritsiotis

2. Date of Birth? 2nd October 1970

3. Steak or sushi? Definitely a good steak.

4. Superstitions? Not superstitious but I’ve been talked into the “green” thing for racing over time!

5. Fav Holiday Destination?  Has to be the islands of Greece, specifically my home island of Karpathos

6. Which: BMW or Merc?  Merc

7. Who inspires you the most?  My 2 kids

8. Big night out or quiet night in?Anyone that knows me would say the former, and guess what, they would be right!

9. Left-handed or right-handed?  Right-handed

10. Nicest person ever interviewed? João Moreira, he really was the most humble guy I have met.

11. What annoys you the most? Punters who don’t know all there is about racing but pretend to know!

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12. Worst interview ever?  There have been a couple but one I remember vividly was when I had to stand in for someone at the last minute and they located me in a pub on my tenth!

13. Best horse race watched, live? The Computaform Sprint in 2009 fought out between Private Jet, Rebel King and Warm White Night

14. Funniest person you have ever met? Has to be my compatriot Neil Andrews. We have a lot of fun together.

15. Biggest race called? The Summer Cup more than once

16. Strict whip rules or no whip at all? Strict whip rules. Not the same without them.

17. What is your biggest phobia?  Death

18. Most embarrassing moment? Calling the wrong winner home at Newmarket one night when I was standing in at the last minute. I hadn’t even learnt the colours of that horse and it WON!

19. Biggest influence on your career? There are a few to mention here : Basil Thomas (now with Hollywood) who was the first person to hire me in racing in South Africa, Neil Andrews who hired me at IGN and Martin Locke, who, in my youth, was the best broadcaster by far.

20. Best media personality worked with? I am flattering him but has to be Neil Andrews. The ultimate professional and never ceases to amaze me.

21. If you had to pick one: In-studio presenting, on-course presenting, you-tubing or race calling? Would have to be race calling. It is the biggest thrill to call a race and keeps me motivated.

22. Proudest Achievement? Getting my B Comm degree and having 2 gorgeous sons.

23. Economy or business class?  I only know Economy but one day I’ll be able to answer that!

24. One thing to make racing better for everyone? A unified industry sailing in the same direction with a centralised business hub and ONE budget!

25. Your star sign? Libra

26. Bath or shower? Either or. Shower mostly because of time!

27. Read or Netflix?  Neither!
28. Attitude to life? Having fun and being kind. Another is to fight fire with fire.
29. Favourite bet? A straight win bookmaker bet. I am averse to exotics and multiples. 

30. Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Permission.

Nominate someone for our Q&A next? Lyall Cooper, my fellow Clocking The Gallop contributor for the Joburg meetings.

Nominate two horses to follow for the rest of this season – I saw this horse called I Am Giant win and thought WOW so he would be one and I will continue to support Sparkling Water as I was firmly behind the stable’s decision to keep her in training for another year.

Chosen charity for readers to donate to: Kidney Beanz

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