John Crofts was born and raised in Northampton where the old racecourse was closed in 1904 and is now a public park. In 1962 at the age of 12, he watched the B.B.C. black and white broadcast of the Grand National from Aintree and was immediately hooked on this exciting sport. After that experience all John could think about was how to get into this exhilarating racing game. Against the wishes of his parents, he ventured into what was to become a lifelong obsession.
Starting out as an unpaid stablehand at a local riding school in return for the odd riding lesson, John later secured a job as the sole stable-lad in a small permit holder's yard near Ludlow. In his two years there they only had one winner and two horses that were placed, but it was not too bad for a stable of never more than six horses and none that cost over £500. In 1974, John joined champion trainer Peter Walwyn at Seven Barrows in Lambourn, but always had his sights set on Newmarket. Five years later he was offered the opportunity to work at Warren Place, where Sir Noel Murless had trained such greats as Crepello, Petite Etoile, Royal Palace and Busted. After three seasons there, when John looked after Piaffer, (who won four races including the Rose of York Stakes) an old neck injury, sustained some years earlier, finally forced him to give up riding professionally in 1981.
John had always had an interest in photographing racehorses and it was almost a natural progression to take this up professionally. John specialises in conformation photographs of horses in training and has also covered most of the major races in England, Ireland, and France. John now lives in Gloucester and is currently working on the next in this series of Best Horses of the Decade books, covering the 1990s.