Horse racing presenter confuses man for woman in viral clip

There are five simple words that have provided more publicity to horse racing than any others on social media – and they are just as mortifying to listen to more than a decade after they were spoken.

Veteran broadcaster Derek ‘Tommo’ Thompson left At The Races viewers with their heads in their hands after his error, which was met with the iconic response: “It’s a man actually, Derek.”

The 2007 clip has gained more than 1million views online across various outlets, still providing a source of embarrassment for viewers 13 years on from the incident which left their on-screen guest feeling rather uncomfortable.

On a race of racing at Hereford, Thompson was presenting from the At The Races studio and was set to hand over to companion Robert Cooper who had been joined by a race assistant.

Thompson says: “Just confirming the ground is now good to soft – oh! You’ve been joined by a beautiful lady!” Following an awkward pause, Cooper replies: “It’s a man actually, Derek.”

With Thompson chuckling: “Oh I’m sorry.” Cooper then tells his guest of the confusion before telling his colleague that the trainer, by the name of Matthew Jones, is in fact a man.

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Derek ‘Tommo’ Thompson was fooled after seeing blonde hair

Speaking to the Racing Post back in 2020, Thompson gave his side of the story and admitted that he had no idea just how big the clip would become.

It was once even played on BBC One’s Graham Norton Show.

He said at the time: “Because you are looking ahead at the camera, I casually glanced behind quickly to see where Bob was, for example to see if he was at a fence or with a horse, then you can personalize the introduction to the presenter.

“I just happened to glance around and see this blonde hair and quickly assumed it was a woman. It was as simple as that.

Sky Sports racing presenter Robert Cooper at Chepstow Racecourse on July 17, 2020 in Chepstow, Wales.  Owners are allowed to attend if they have a runner at the meeting otherwise racing remains behind closed doors to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic
Veteran broadcaster Robert Cooper didn’t try to help out Derek Thompson

TV pundit Derek Thompson at York racecourse on August 25, 2017 in York, England
Derek ‘Tommo’ Thompson has admitted to making a genuine mistake

“I immediately thought ‘Oh s***’ – I nearly said it on-air! When they cut to the outside broadcast they also cut the sound inside the studio and I think those words came out, but it didn’t come out on air.

“There’s always one good thing to realize, thank goodness I did not get it the other way round, because that would have been even worse!

Adding: “Bob is always good, he can hit the ball back over the net and I knew he would come back with something. I did not realize he would come back with that, it did shock me well and truly.”

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