John was born in the same year as Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard but it was another eighteen years before he made his own racecourse debut at Sandown Park. However, his interest in racing developed long before then from many a Saturday afternoon spent watching Grandstand and World of Sport's ITV7. Red Rum's third Grand National win was one of his earliest racing memories, though Special Cargo’s Whitbread Gold Cup remains his all-time favourite race. Having grown up on the Isle of Wight, his student days in York enabled his racecourse visits to become more regular, while a year studying in France sparked his interest in racing on the other side of the Channel. Ending up back in Yorkshire, he joined Timeform’s editorial department in 1995. He writes essays for the Racehorses and Chasers & Hurdlers annuals and is responsible for much of the overseas and pedigree content of the Timeform publications.