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From Bicycle to Bentley, A Bookmaker's Story (Hardback)

P&S History > Reference P&S History > Social History World History

By Stephen Little
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 8 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781036101930
Published: 15th August 2023
Last Released: 23rd January 2024


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Stephen takes the reader from his earliest school days when it became clear he was academically bright, especially in maths, attending prep school, winning a scholarship to major public school Uppingham where he won maths prizes and, aged 16, passed 3 S (scholarship) levels. By then he had decided to be a bookie. He attended an interview for Cambridge University only because it was on his bicycle route to Newmarket races!

Unable to work in any gambling job until 18, he set about visiting racecourses by bicycle, staying in youth hotels (17½p per night), eventually cycling to all racecourses in the UK, including several now-defunct courses.

At 18 he found employment with Beresford & Smith in London; aged 24 he got his first bookie’s licence in 1971 and by the age of 40 in 1986 was betting big on the rails at major meetings such as the Grand National, Cheltenham, Derby, Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood, often laying bets to lose £100,000 or more - when money was worth nearly twice today’s value - one of the few bookies who happily stood "toe to toe and traded blow for blow" with big hitters like JP McManus, Barney Curley, Michael Tabor and Harry Findlay.

In 1998 changes in pitch administration prompted early retirement, and he sold his pitches, worked for a few unsatisfactory years for Corals and then departed the big time - with a Bentley as well as a bicycle, a house in Georgian Bath and a satisfactory bank balance.

As seen in 'Tales of big winners and bigger bets'.

Read the article here.

The Irish Field

As seen on Luck On Sunday.

Watch the interview with the author here.

Luck on Sunday, Racing TV

As seen in 'Bicycles and Bentleys'

Sporting Press

As featured in

The Spectator

As seen in

Bloodstock Notebook, issue No. 7, Winter 2023

As seen in

Old Uppinghamians magazine

As seen in 'Vicar's son who staked it all on a career at the track'.

Daily Express

As seen in 'Fur coats, Bentleys and bus passes: meet the flamboyant former king of the betting jungle'.

Read the article here.

The Racing Post

As featured in 'A bookie's life story'

Glamorgan Star

Article: Count on Chindit to run well in Newbury race

Bristol Post
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