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Champion Jump Horse Racing Jockeys (Hardback)

From 1945 to Present Day

Sport White Owl

By Neil Clark
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 36 colour and black and white
ISBN: 9781526769855
Published: 1st September 2021
Expected Re-release Date: 30th December 2021

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‘It’s one of the real sports that’s left to us: a bit of danger and a bit of excitement, and the horses, which are the best thing in the world.'

• HM The Queen Mother on National Hunt racing.

This book traces how much National Hunt racing has changed since 1945- and also how Britain has changed too. The advent of motorways has made travel easier and racecourse safety has improved but the challenges for jump jockeys -the bravest of the brave- remain. It covers some of the biggest stories in jump racing over the last seventy-five years, including the dramatic collapse of Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National and the incredible exploits of three-times Grand National winner Red Rum. But it also contains lots of fascinating stories which the reader will not be so aware of, of trainers and horses long forgotten.

As featured in: Covering Some Of The Biggest Stories In Jump Racing Over The Last 75 Years

The Yorkshire Reporter, November 2021

As featured in: From Rimell to Skelton: moving story of racing's great champions

Yorkshire Post

Some cracking anecdotes from the past 75 years of National Hunt racing and an entertaining dip into the extreme life of a jump jockey.

Read the full review here

Horse & Hound

This fabulous book is a timely reminder of all those famous faces we used to watch on Saturday afternoons... brilliant!

Books Monthly

The other volume this year worth space in any racing library is Neil Clark’s Champion Jump Horse Racing Jockeys (White Owl, £25 ), which tells the stories of the 22 champions from Fred Rimell to Dan Skelton. The title race lately has been dominated by two men: Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy (20 consecutive wins from 1995 to 1996) and Richard Johnson (16 times runner-up to McCoy before winning four titles himself between 2015 and 2019). Other multiple winners include such greats as Peter Scudamore, John Francome and Richard Dunwoody and racing anoraks will be grateful for Neil’s blow-by-blow recording of their leadership battles.

More fun though is his keen eye for anecdote and this book’s richest pleasures are found in the tales of part-forgotten heroes like 1946/47 champion Jack Dowdeswell, who had a stripe taken off him in the Royal Horse Artillery for ducking off to ride a Cheltenham winner. As an apprentice he earned two shillings a week, slaving 14 hours a day for the tartar Ted Gwilt. Bryan Marshall had the mixed fortune of riding for Dorothy Paget, who berated him at Folkestone one day after he had ridden her five winners but come second on the sixth. After another second on a Paget horse she went for him with a shooting stick.

The mild-mannered Dick Francis turned up one day to be interviewed by grandee trainer Peter Cazalet. A new would-be parish vicar was due the same day and a puzzled Francis was at first taken for the churchman. Saints and sinners, then — but heroes all.

Read the full review here

The Spectator, magazine issue: 30 October 2021

As featured in

The Yorkshire Post, 25/10/21

As featured in

Daily Express 02/10/21

As featured in Western Mail 'At first glance it looks a cracking read. The book traces how much National Hunt racing has changed since 1945

Western Mail

About Neil Clark

Neil Clark is a journalist, broadcaster, author and award-winning blogger. He has contributed numerous articles to leading newspapers, magazines and websites including the Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Racing Post and is a regular pundit on current affairs and sport on television and radio. He is the author of Flying Ace: A Racing Legend (1992), Stranger than Fiction, the biography of Edgar Wallace (2014) , and also contributed to the Great Racing Gambles and Frauds series.


Visit his blog www.neilclark66.blogspot.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NeilClark66 or @MightyMagyar.

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