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Alastair Down on the Cheltenham Festival: 'To go there and stand witness to extraordinary events is a rare and wonderful act of being at one with your fellow clutterers of the planet.' On his favourite racehorse: 'I'll still thump anyone who doesn't appreciate that Rondetto was the greatest chaser of all time.' On recovering after an over-indulgent day at Longchamp: 'I just wish to be left alone with my thoughts and sincere hopes that my liver, which I mailed home by separate refrigerated container, will arrive soon.' On Frankel's last race: 'There were tears speckling the cheers, because there is something almost inexplicably humbling about being in the presence of greatness of this magnitude.' For over thirty years Alastair Down has written about horseracing with an unrivalled cocktail of wit, insight, passion and descriptive power - a combination which has brought him legions of enthusiastic readers, both within and beyond the racing world. Cheltenham et Al offers a generous collection of his very best columns, providing the Down angle on the great horses, jockeys and trainers; the famous races which remain indelibly in the sport's collective memory; the controversies; the laughs - in short, the highs and the lows of racing. By turns moving, uplifting and laugh-out-loud funny, this book provides ample proof of one racing certainty: that no one catches the spirit of racing as Alastair Down does.
Do you know what the oldest horse race in Britain is, where the term `gee-gee' comes from, or who is credited with bringing racing to Ascot? Fact-packed but light-hearted in style, this reliable reference book and quirky guide reveals little-known facts, details of classic races, famous riders, racing records, amusing anecdotes and criminal goings-on. A compendium of the fascinating, strange and entertaining, The Little Book of Horse Racing can be dipped into time and time again to reveal something new about this ancient sport.
How well do you know your racing? You follow the form, share in the agony of defeat and the elation of success, but how much of that information do you remember? The Racing Post Quiz Book will provide hours of entertainment and challenge horse racing know-it-alls to prove themselves. Categories range from where this uniquely historic sport started right up to the modern day, taking in the best horses, most successful trainers, the heroic jockeys and many more besides. With 1,000 questions, many fiendish, some infuriating, this is the ultimate test for any racing fan.
As the woman who trained the great Best Mate to win three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups, no one could be better qualified than Henrietta Knight to discover what makes today's top jumps trainers succeed.
From eccentric, outspoken Yorkshireman Mick Easterby, to elegant, aristocratic Venetia Williams, from Irish wizard, Willie Mullins, to perfectionist champion trainer, Paul Nicholls and young pretender, Dan Skelton, here is a dazzling cast of extraordinary characters, all with their quirks and foibles, but with one single-minded ambition – finding first-class horses and training them to win big races.
Henrietta shares their dramatic journeys, methods and secrets of working in a tough, competitive industry. For the trainers, every win reignites the thrill of the sport and a craving for success that never dies. Their stories are fascinating, each one illustrated with unique photographs from private albums.
Derek Thompson has been synonymous with horseracing on television for over three decades. Hugely popular, infectiously enthusiastic and boasting almost as many catchphrases as Sir Bruce Forsyth, Derek is the racing fans' favourite. In Tommo, his autobiography, Derek's fascinating life story is told. As comfortable interviewing the Aga Khan as Ronnie Corbett, Derek is the man who beat cancer and High Court humiliation, not to mention the Prince of Wales in a famous Plumpton charity race. He was on the spot, microphone in hand, for some of racing's greatest days, and now in his own words writes about the incredible horses he has watched and the people he has met. Deliciously indiscreet and always entertaining, Derek has countless stories to tell, but the most interesting story of all is his own, and for the first time, good and bad, happy and sad, he is telling it.
This is the sensational inside story on how professional punter Patrick Veitch overcame adversity to take the bookmakers for over GBP 10 million in an eight year period. Veitch studied maths at Cambridge alongside becoming a major league punter. A comfortable life as a professional punter looked assured until his world was torn apart. He was the victim of an extortion attempt by a dangerous criminal who would subsequently be tried twice for murder and later convicted of attempted murder. Veitch was forced to flee and go into hiding, returning to Cambridge to testify in a bulletproof jacket with police protection. With his tormentor behind bars, Veitch took on the bookmakers on a greater scale than ever before. Over the following eight years, he would come to be known as the bookmakers' public enemy number one as he and his followers relieved the bookmakers of colossal sums.
Strictly Classified offers readers a unique insight into the workings of a horseman's mind, notably in relation to their understanding of a racehorse's psyche, emotions and character. Calling from his training in psychotherapy and other disciplines, Marten Julian sheds light on how those who work with horses try to unravel the innermost workings of a horse's mind. He has asked many of the world's top trainers and handlers how they identify and relate to a horse's individual personality and thereby encourage it to realise its full potential. Reference is made to how they address the potential effect of a racehorse's formative years, their integration into a yard, their emotional range of experiences, their spirit, their will to win and their end days. This is a book specifically about horse people, how they respond to a horse's character and psychological disposition and it is illustrated with examples of a few well-known horses with which they have been involved.
Czechoslovakia, October 1937. Europe's youngest democracy is on its knees. Millions are mourning the death of the nation's founding father, the saintly Tomas Masaryk. Across the border, the Third Reich is menacing - and plotting to invade. In the Czechoslovak heartlands, vast crowds have gathered to watch the threatened nation's most prestigious sporting contest: the Grand Pardubice steeplechase. Notoriously dangerous, the race is considered the ultimate test of manhood and fighting spirit. The Nazis, as usual, have sent their paramilitary elite: SS officers schooled to be Hitler's most ruthless enforcers. Their mission: to crush - yet again - the "subhuman Slavs". The local cavalry officers have no hope of stopping them. But there is one other contestant: a silver-haired countess riding a little golden mare... The story of Lata Brandisova is one of the strangest and most inspiring in all sport. Born into privilege, she spent much of her life in poverty. Modest and shy, she refused to accept the constraints society placed on her because of her gender. Instead, with quiet courage, she repeatedly achieved what others said was impossible. The scandal of her first attempt to ride in Pardubice reverberated across Europe. Ten years later, she became her nation's figurehead in its darkest hour. Then came retribution... UNBREAKABLE is a tale of courage, heartbreak and defiance, in an age of prejudice and fear. In the background are forces - sexism, class hatred, nationalism - whose shadows darken today's world too. In the foreground are eccentric aristocrats, socialite spies, daredevil jockeys - and a race so brutal that some consider merely taking part in it a sign of insanity. At its heart is a unique hero, and a unique love affair between a woman and a horse.
It is widely accepted in the world of jump racing that Kauto Star is the best steeplechaser since the immortal Arkle half a century ago. The only horse ever to have regained the Cheltenham Gold Cup crown, and a scarcely credible fi ve-time winner of the other classic of the jumps season, the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, Kauto Star has posted an extraordinary record during eight seasons racing in Britain. But it is what lies behind the statistics which make the Kauto Star story so compelling: the rivalry with stable companion Denman, his next-door neighbour in the Somerset yard of trainer Paul Nicholls; the fallibility expressed in his earlier chasing years by the heart-stopping habit of making at least one major blunder in a big race; the apparently terminal slump in his form as he reached veteran status, which only made the resurrection more glorious. Kauto Star: A Steeplechasing Legend tells that uplifting story as it unfolded through the pages of the Racing Post and the incomparable photographic skills of the Post's photographers, to make a worthy celebration of the life and career of one of jump racing's all-time greats.
Pricewise - a name that is synonymous with shrewd and selective advice from the UK's only daily racing newspaper, the Racing Post. Pricewise is the name of the Racing Post's phenomenally successful tipping service, a name that is feared by the bookies. But how did Pricewise start and what are the secrets behind its advice? How do the people running the service go about making their selections? This book explores Pricewise's status as the world's best tipping service, its amazing rise from small beginnings and how it has changed and shaped the betting landscape. It takes the reader through the diary of its current compiler, Tom Segal and author of its success over the last few years. It looks at how his selections are viewed by the bookmakers and its impact on the betting exchanges. For anyone who enjoys having a bet, if only occasionally, this is a book that will give incisive insight and advice on how to bet selectively and with intelligence.
Edward Whitaker is publicly acknowledged as one of the best racing photographers ever. And A.P. McCoy is undoubtedly the most successful jumps jockey ever to have sat on a horse. The fact that the two have been around at the same time provides a stunning, revealing and sometimes shocking collection of amazing photographs from over 20 years. Whitaker claims McCoy has been one of the key studies of his career and in this beautifully produced book you have one extraordinary life told through the supremely talented lens of one extraordinary photographer.
Exotic Betting at the Racetrack is unique as it covers the efficient-inefficient strategy to price and find profitable racetrack bets, along with handicapping that provides actual bets made by the author on essentially all of the major wagers offered at US racetracks. The book starts with efficiency, accuracy of the win odds, arbitrage, and optimal betting strategies. Examples and actual bets are shown for various wagers including win, place and show, exacta, quinella, double, trifecta, superfecta, Pick 3, 4 and 6 and rainbow pick 5 and 6. There are discussions of major races including the Breeders' Cup, Pegasus, Dubai World Cup and the US Triple Crown from 2012-2018. Dosage analysis is also described and used. An additional feature concerns great horses such as the great mares Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Goldikova, Treve, Beholder and Song Bird. There is a discussion of horse ownership and a tour through arguably the world's top trainer Frederico Tesio and his stables and horses in Italy.Related Link(s)
A Year In The Frame is award winning sports photographer, Edward Whitaker's third collection of images following on from In The Frame and Beyond The Frame. These photographs encapsulate the racing year; its grandeur, its traditions, its variety, its vivid palette of colours. Festivals from around the globe punctuate the calendar and these are brought to life through the lense of a master craftsman. From Cheltenham to Chantilly, Meydan to St Moritz, the best that the sport of kings has to offer is captured in moments, at times vast in scale and at others focused, intimate. Stars, both equine and human are on show, as well as racegoers who tend to dress for the occasion and not the elements they may have to battle, whilst the unique characteristics of each month are exposed chapter by chapter. Racing fans are reminded that they are never more than a few days away from something to enjoy.
Thoroughbreds cannot speak, and yet you will hear about 'talking horses'. Racing is famously the 'sport of kings', and yet its discourse is full of references to 'gaffs', 'rags' and 'rogues'. Punters spend all day trying to 'get on', and then try to 'get out' in the 'lucky last'. Horseracing generates as much talk, and certainly as much paper, as any other popular pastime. No other pursuit except finance has a devoted national paper to digest each morning. Its discourse can be euphemistic or direct, affected or colloquial, but very rarely dull. Leigh and Woodhouse comb the language of racing from the shorthand of bloodstock agents and race-readers to the vernacular of the weighing room, from the hubbub of the betting ring to the hard luck stories of the betting exchange chatrooms. The Racing Lexicon may not come straight from the horse's mouth, but it collects over 700 set phrases used by connections, journalists and punters.
You might feel sure that a horse is not a Flamingo, a Polar Bear, a Tomato, a Teapot, a pair of Bootlaces, a Taxidermist, a Rat Catcher or a Flea but you'd be wrong. Racehorse owners often give their horses bizarre names that would seem to make success impossible. Luckily, thoroughbreds are able to defy such handicaps. A Spaniel has won the Derby (1831), a Crow the St Leger (1976), a Butterfly the Oaks (1860) and, difficult to imagine, Oscar Wilde the Welsh National (1958). It's bonkers. Bonkers won at Southwell in 2002. Over the centuries there have been hundreds of thousands of different names bestowed or inflicted on racehorses and in Fifty Shades Of Hay, David Ashforth has picked out a selection to baffle, surprise and amuse in equal measure.
Charles and George Hunt, two of the most skilled and prolific engravers of their day, flourished during the boom period of the English Sporting Print (1820-1870). The British public's enthusiasm for horse racing, hunting and coaching grew rapidly during the early years of the nineteenth century, and the aspirational middle classes wanted colourful images of these scenes to decorate their walls. So the Hunts were kept busy reproducing the oil paintings and watercolours of, among others, Henry Alken, J. F. Herring, F. C. Turner and James Pollard, capturing the essence and atmosphere of this particularly English art.This is a useful reference work for dealers and collectors of nineteenth-century engravings and aquatints featuring horse racing, coaching, hunting, other sporting scenes, and caricatures. It also provides an introduction to the development of British sporting art from the late seventeenth century, and the boom in print making from c.1820.
At one point in her life, Dorothy Paget was described by journalist Quintin Gilbey, as 'so much in the public eye that she became, apart from royalty, the best-known woman in the land.' Synonymous with Golden Miller, perhaps the greatest racehorse ever to jump a fence, Paget ploughed fortunes into racing and breeding, buying - despite never visiting - the Ballymacoll Stud in Ireland. She also happened to be the biggest gambler ever to walk the turf. Living an eccentric lifestyle, she would spend most of the day in bed and rise at night, placing bets with bookmakers and their staff, specifically employed for these late night duties. She was even allowed to place bets on races that had already been run the previous day. This is the long overdue telling of the life of an extraordinary, larger-than-life character, of great interest to social historians, racing fans, and to those fascinated by gamblers, gambling, eccentrics and absolute one-offs.
" Racing, the most colourful of sports, holds many in thrall. Some can't resist it because they love horses, others because they own horses, ride or train horses, and of course a huge number enjoy the betting. Racing embraces them all, and this bedside book of racing stories, anecdotes, reminiscences, poems and observations is as varied and rich as the racing scene itself.Many of the great names of racing, past and present, are included, as well as others that are less expected: Jeffrey Bernard, Jack Leach, Dick Francis, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Benjamin Disraeli, David Ashforth, Anthony Trollope, Siegfried Sassoon, Rudyard Kipling, Philip Larkin, Emile Zola, and more.The six sections in the book encompass Horses, Owners, Trainers, Jockeys, the Players and the great Racing Festivals. Stories that bring out the worst and the best in human nature sit side by side. There are over fifty entries of enticing and gripping reading.Julian Bedford, racing journalist, has delved deep and searched wide to bring together a bedside book that must be the perfect gift and bedside companion for every racing man and woman."
An Irish immigrant, a collection agent for crime bosses, a professional boxer, and a prodigious gambler, John Morrissey was - if nothing else - an unlikely candidate to become one of the most important figures in the history of Thoroughbred racing. As a young man, he worked as a political heavy in New York before going to San Francisco in search of fortune at the height of the Gold Rush. After returning to the east coast, he was hired by Tammany Hall and was soon locked in a deadly rivalry with William Poole, better known as "Bill the Butcher." As time went on, Morrissey parlayed his youthful exploits into a remarkably successful career as a businessman and politician. After establishing a gambling house in Saratoga Springs, the hard-nosed entrepreneur organized the first Thoroughbred race meet at what would become Saratoga Race Course in 1863. Morrissey went on to be elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and two terms in the New York State Senate. In The Notorious John Morrissey, James C. Nicholson explores the improbable life of the man who brought Thoroughbred racing back to prominence in the United States. Though few of his contemporaries did more to develop the commercialization of sports in America, Morrissey's colorful background has prevented him from getting the attention he deserves. This entertaining and long-overdue biography finally does justice to his astounding rags-to-riches story while exploring an intriguing chapter in the history of horse racing.
Burned out by working the baseball beat for years, in the summer of 1922 Damon Runyon was looking for a new sport to cover for The New York American as a change of pace. Having pilloried golf just a few years before, he went to Saratoga that August to sample horse racing and found that "There, right in front of him, were so many of the characters he so loved from his time covering the comings and goings of the Manhattan night crowd." This was just the tonic Runyon needed to emerge from his malaise. Runyon didn't just cover the great races and which horse won: he would get to the track days before and roam along the backstretch, speaking with the trainers, the gamblers, the rich owners, and the wise guys, many of which became model characters in his fiction and in the musical Guys and Dolls. This book collects the best of Runyon's horse racing columns to 1936, when he moved on to other beats. In addition to an introduction, Reisler will include a "cast of characters" that will provide short biographies of a number of people Runyon discusses in his columns.
Fully updated with a new chapter on A.P.'s knighthood, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement award and his new role as a TV pundit When Tony 'A.P.' McCoy announced his retirement from racing, the shockwaves reverberated across the world of sport. With more than 4,300 winners to his name, McCoy seemed to be at the peak of his powers when he suddenly brought down the curtain on an extraordinary career. But then A.P. McCoy has always done things his way. In Winner: My Racing Life, AP reflects upon his unparalleled career, taking the reader from his humble beginnings in County Antrim to the emotional day at Sandown when horse racing bade a tearful farewell to arguably its greatest ever star. McCoy relates in forensic detail the process that led to his decision to retire, recalls some of his greatest rides, lifts the lid on his family life and looks ahead to a future no longer driven by the constant pursuit of victory. The result is a remarkable insight into the private and public life of a true winner.
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