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Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang [Kindle Edition]

Jamie Reid
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Doped is the gripping true-story racing thriller set in Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s. Combining a potent mix of horse racing, drugs, sex, class, crime, gambling and the monarchy, it tells the true story of one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history. In March 1962 an audacious attempt to nobble one of the royal horses alerted police to a well organised band of racecourse criminals, backed by murderous London gangsters. The subsequent Flying Squad pursuit of the gang brought the quaintly deferential world of racing into sharp conflict with the harsher realities of the 'You've Never Had It So Good' era. This also coincided with the birth of the annual Dick Francis novel. The cast of characters is headed by William Roper, a debonair ex RAF Sergeant turned oddsmaker. His team included an ex jockey, numerous underpaid stable lads, an upper class gambling addict and a violent professional gangster who went on to face charges with the Kray twins in 1969. But the most fascinating member of Roper's firm was a beautiful and self-possessed young Swiss woman called Micheline Lugeon who became the bookmaker's lover.

Product Description


Dope tale will have us explosive real life story......a real page turner. Claude Duval, The Sun

He has captured the Sixties milieu to a tee and served up a richly enjoyable slice of Turf history. Independent on Sunday

Forgive the cliché, but this really is a book that I couldn't put down --Anton Rippon, Sports Journalists Association

This is a fascinating book, very well written. --Dave Ord,>Doped is a crackling, eye-opening read. --David Ashforth, Racing Post

impeccably-researched and furiously-paced ... unputdownable ... a breathless story of greed and corruption that shocked the nation. --Sport magazine

an absolutely thrilling read --William Hill Sports Book Award judges

a marvellous evocation of the period with late night stable visits by dopers, Soho gangsters, milk bars and Ford Zephyrs. --The Sunday Times

Doped superbly evokes a lost world of seedy glamour when spivs, racketeers and glamour pusses rubbed shoulders with aristocratic high-rollers. It would make a fantastic film --The Independent

About the Author

Jamie Reid is a journalist, writing a column for The Financial Times, and author and has written several books including A Licence to Print Money (1992) and Emperors of the Turf (1989).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1398 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1909471046
  • Publisher: Racing Post Books (10 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F3P66S2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jamie Reid is the author of the non fiction books, A License to Print Money (short listed for the 1992 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award) Days Like These, The Education of a Racing Lover ( short listed for 2004 William Hill gambling Book of the year award) and Emperors of the Turf as well as the acclaimed novels Easy Money and Home on the Range.

A lifelong punter and racing enthusiast he is also a journalist and regular contributor to the Financial Times colour magazine, How To Spend It , for whom he writes The Smart Money column. He has also written for the Guardian, the Independent On Sunday, Harpers and Queen, The New Statesman, Money Observer and Private Eye.

His new book, Doped, published this Autumn, is the winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2013

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A criminal scandal of the 50s and 60s 22 Oct. 2013
By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
This might even be the scandal that inspired Dick Francis to start writing crime novels about horseracing. His first such book came out in 1962, at a time when the crimes described in this book were all over the news in Britain. At least with those books, we know that the good guys always win in the end. So it is in this book about a true-life crime, but it isn't always so.

The story involves criminals who mostly (it seems) drifted into crime gradually, perhaps to solve some short-term problem in their lives, but then found they needed more money and (in at least some cases) continuing their crimes was the only way to sustain the lifestyle they became accustomed to. They got away with it for as long as they did only because the authorities were incompetent - this should surprise nobody who follows any British sport - the Jockey Club are just as bad as the FA, the SFA, the RFU (remember what Will Carling said about them?) and other sporting authorities. Over the years, these authorities and the legislators have improved some things but still they dither about others. I don't think the kind of crimes described in this book could happen in anything like this way today (at least in Britain) for a variety of reasons, but crimes against British horseracing still occur, so criminals have found other ways to do their dirty deeds.

The big individual scandal within the series of crimes was the nobbling of Pinturischio, the favorite for the 1961 Epsom Derby. He never recovered as a racehorse and made no impact as a stallion either. The 1961 Derby winner, Psidium, was a rank outsider who has not gone down in history as one of the best winners of the race.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking good yarn 11 Oct. 2013
By Jezza
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a marvellous tale. Hard to think that this was real life and not a "roman noir" as in the "films noir" of the 1940's. Very well written and researched in the fullest detail, it is unputdownable! I am a great fan of racing, though I think it would be equally riveting to someone that was not, and incredible to see all those names of trainers, owners and jockeys that are still around today as well as the bookmakers. This is gripping stuff and I could not recommend it more.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Ride... 26 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this rivetting, hard-to-put-down account of a celebrated horse-doping conspiracy that brought British horse racing to its knees in the late 1950s and early '60s, Jamie Reid does for the sport of kings what Michael Lewis has done so eloquently and effectively for the world of finance (Liar's Poker, The Big Short). What both these authors do so well is catch the mood of the times, and bring to stunning and exuberant life the complex insider worlds of gamblers, rogues and villains whether they're operating on the trading floors of Wall Street or in the royal enclosures at Epsom and Ascot. Marshalling a huge cast of characters, from the rarefied salons of the Jockey Club to the smokey bars and gambling dens of the lower orders, Reid vividly recreates the shadowy world of racetrack racketeering in post-war Britain, and provides a narrative that grips and fascinates whether you're a seasoned race-goer or, like me, the 'quid each way' punter on Grand National day. Like Lewis, Reid is a deft hand at the telling thumbnail sketch, and expert at conjuring up a lost world of loud checks, cheeky chappies and bowler-hatted blimps, his racy tale of bent bookie Bill Roper, his glamourous Swiss mistress and gang of ne'er-do-well dopers a captivating cocktail of Ealing caper, underworld noir, and Establishment snobbery. But for all the gloss and glamour, the close calls and high jinks, there is no denying that Roper's activities not only constituted a very serious financial fraud that raked in millions of pounds in a very short period of time, but also served to undermine the reputation of British racing around the world. It also put at grave risk the health and prospects not only of the racehorses that were drugged but the lives of the jockeys who rode them. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'glamour' of horse racing, drugs and money 22 Oct. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am not a race goer and have never been particularly keen on racing. That being said I couldn't put this book down. Bill Roper and his glamourous mistress, portray the more seedy and shadowy side of horse racing at that time, putting horses and their jockeys lives at risk for money. It is a riveting read and very well researched. I got a tremendous feel for the era in which it was set and the characters really came to life. I can highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the facts and all the fun. 11 Nov. 2013
Doped does a lot: it succeeds in telling a tricky technical crime story but with verve and colour, so you get all the facts and all the fun. Reid has a great talent for shining a glamorous and alluring light on the seedy goings on of the British underworld. The main narrative is told against a background of the political and social events which were going on during the sixties, and which are carefully selected to give a sense of the revolution that was taking place in Britain. In some ways the criminals in the gang featured in this book were just another load of working class guys on the make, and out to push the toffs off the top of the tree, but their attempt was too lawless and brutal to succeed. Had there been as many photographs of the Roper gang as there were of the Krays it is certain they would be better known now. But Reid brings them and their story vividly and attractively to life in this compelling book.
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