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Catrin Nack (Hamburg Germany)
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Ahead on the Flat 2013: The Top Flat Horses to Follow
Ahead on the Flat 2013: The Top Flat Horses to Follow
by Mark Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.65

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic in its field, 20 Jun. 2013
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I am not much of a Gambler but Mark Howards books for the Flat and his Winter Jumps horses are an invalueable help to get an insight into the current sesaon. He will not pick your Camelot's and Dancing Braves, but will try to unveil the darker horses and some that might have slipped under the Radar, and Newcomers and or likely improvers, or both. His thorough Research and the available updates make the book as accurate as it can be, and while there is of course no guarantee for success, this book will clearly help you backing your winners, or simply might give you a dark horse to follow fotr the fun of it. Trainers now openly share their good horses with Mark, so the result is a thoroughly informative read!


Two Year Olds of 2013
Two Year Olds of 2013
by Steve Taplin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must year after year, 20 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Two Year Olds of 2013 (Paperback)
Steve Taplin's Two Year Olds - Series is getting raving Reviews insight the Industry, and rightly so. More and more reserach means the book is now published in mid-may (and the wait for it is even longer !) but his carefully selected assessments and Trainers remarks are of invaluable help of picking Two-Year-old winners, just on tuesday one of his Top 50 - rated horses won at Royal Ascot at 16/1 and Trainer Olly Stevens did predict it in Feb. ! If you are serious with your gambling, or simply want to get a well-informed and thorough insight into the current crop of Youngsters, you simply cannot be without this book. Of course not all Trainers are available for the own comments in which case Taplin gives a informed insight into the breeding of the given horses. Horses are sorted by Name and by Trainer and are very easy to find, the Star-Rating giving extra quick help.


Beef or Salmon: Leap of Faith
Beef or Salmon: Leap of Faith
by Donal Keenan
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good start, but too many silly mistakes, 26 Nov. 2012
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I have never been a massive fan of Beef or Salmon to be honest, and bought this book plainly because I love reading and I love National Hunt, and thought it would complete my collection. I started reading it with a good deal of scepticism, but it did start well and I really started to enjoy reading it. Donal Keenan, an experienced irish journalist, certainly did some research, he started the story with BoS's first try in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and poor Doran's Pride's tragic demise in the very next race (something I always found hard to forgive Hourigan to be honest). Keenan then goes on tracing BoS's origins, talking to his breeder and following the path of his sire to early days, when he (Cajetano, the sire) was purchased at Nelson Bunker Hunts Dispersal Sale in Kentucky. This is all thoroughly researched and makes good reading, well written as it is to that point. Then it's on to Beef or Salmons purchase, Hourigan finding him at some sale, getting him cheaply, selling him on, all in good chronological order; a nice reminder of that golden Era in National Hunt, with Best Mate and all around. But then the mistakes (and only the ones I notice!) start creeping in, Henrietta Knight is noted as Best Mates owner (!), Truckers Tavern as trained by Nicky Henderson (!), and -worst of all probably - Moscow Flyer is down as trained by Willie Mullins (!!!!). Well, that's when I started losing interest, what about the mistakes I do not notice as I am not too familiar with the irish racing scene. And thats where the stars for this rating went, as well. We all forgive the odd spelling mistake, but this is serious stuff and must not pass proof-reading !

Apart from these silly and obvious mistakes the book was nice reading, and Keenan does paint a very positive picture of Hourigan, even when circumstances were controversial at the time (e.g. when running the Novice in Grade 1 races incl. the Gold Cup against all these experienced horses); but he does give very interesting detailed insight into the hard work of Kay Hourigan and staff behind the scenes to conquer Beef or Salmon's "Kissing Spine" syndrome.

All in all it would be a good book, but no book can recover from mistakes like the ones mentioned.


Primerica: A Home for the Brave
Primerica: A Home for the Brave
by Jane Lyon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.01

5.0 out of 5 stars They did it again, 5 Nov. 2012
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I have no children, but love children's books, and I did love the previous book by Jane Lyon and Karen Bailey "Skipingo Home" just as much as I love this one. The Author's - mother and daughter- run a very successful Stud in America and are activly rescuing ex-horses as well. Both this book and the previous one are about horses they rescued and provided with a new, alternative career as a riding horse. Primerica too was too slow on the racecourse (as was Skipingo, a brother of Skip Away) and droped through the ranks to run on small rural racetracks for low purses. But he was found by Karen Bailey, whose familiy bought into the family of the horse so followed all their descandants. Again the text is rhyming and written as a poem, with wonderful illsutrations by Susie Gordon. Its a horse story to savour with a very serious, but heartwarming message, and parts of the profits are again donated.

A wonderful little gem of a book to read again and again and to treasure - and not just for children!


Kauto Star: A Steeplechasing Legend
Kauto Star: A Steeplechasing Legend
by Andrew Pennington
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice reminder, but Kauto deserves more, 5 Nov. 2012
Kauto Star is a superstar, THE Steeplechaser of my generation and my life. Arkle who? His wonderful wonderful career was the highlight of every winter, eagerly awaited and religiously followed, mostly from abroad, but we did see him live as well and were in Haydock for his final Betfair-Chase, the single best racing experience of my life.
This book was published even before Kauto's retirement was annoucend, and it does follow the hoofprints of previous books about Sea the Stars, for example. Its simply all the Racing Post's articles about Kauto in chronological order, with small editorial texts in between. This is nice, but of course nothing new . The book has lovely photos too, but again you should have seen them all if you followed his career while it happend. There is a chronology of all his races at the back, but just the race-details and his finishing position, not even the first three horses are mentioned (they are mentioned in little blocks at the bottom of the individual pages where the races in question are described, but I feel it would have been nice to have a comprehensive race-chronology at the end of the book for quick and detailed reference).

The book has a wonderful and very passionate foreword by Alice Plunkett, and is of course a nice reminder of Kauto's career, but as a fan there is absolutely nothing new to learn. Get it at a discounted price to fill your libary, or better - get it as a pressie; but we will have to wait for the definitive book about the horse of our lifetime that little bit longer. Dont get me wrong, I love what Alistair Down &Co. wrote about Kauto at the time and its still great stuff, but as I said, nothing new whatsoever.


My Autobiography
My Autobiography
by A.P. McCoy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the predecessor, a sound read, 30 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
I confess that I intensely disliked AP McCoy for a long long time. He was far too driven for my liking, just counting winner, never seem to bother about the horses; his were the last-fence fallers etc. But the change in McCoy's attitude towards the game was there for all to see, so found myself warming up to him and even voting for him to be SPOTY. What a great night that was for him!

This autobiography, written with the help of Don Mclean, who did already help Mick Fitzgerald among others, starts just at the very night when McCoy was voted SPOTY, and they takes up McCoys life-story more or less chronological (as you would expect :))

Written in a far more relaxed style, with a hint of irony thrown in here and there, of course McCoy has more than one story to tell, and they all make a good read. His growing-up years with the help of early mentor Billy Rock, his appareniceship with no other than Jim Bolger, his switch to England, the pursue of his then-girlfriend - now wife- Chantelle, his relentless appetite for winners, his years with Martin Pipe, his McManus years - you name it, its dealt with in nice detail. McCoy relates some private details here as well, the ups and downs in his private life (in fact one does wonder how and WHY Chantelle, who initially didnt seem too interested, did change her mind and did stick it out with him!), the devasting blows some fatally injured horses gave him (Gloria Victis, Valiramix and Wichita Lineman are not forgotten, just to name some), his thoughts on Irish Racing - its all there. The wonder that is McCoys little daughter Eve gets lots af attention, McCoys love for here shining through every line. These emotions, good and sad, make this book far more worthwhile than the older autobiography, and a far far better read than the Carberry-one, for example.

In fact, it doesnt leave a lot to be desired, really. McCoy doesnt spare his critic where he thinks its due - Brave Incas owners might not like what he has to say about them; incl. some thoughts about the current whip argument. There are many nice photos in here as well, so get if for yourself, or as a nice christmas pressie. Its well worth it, and what better jockey to recall some fabulous National Hunt years with?


Paul Carberry - Autobiography: One Hell of a Ride
Paul Carberry - Autobiography: One Hell of a Ride
by Des Gibson
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very Irish Jockey ..., 20 Oct. 2011
I'd say I have read the biographies of all contemporary jockeys, and of course many of them are Irish. Tony McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald, Richard Dunwoody, Ruby Walsh - you name 'em, I have read the book, and now Paul Carberry followed suit with "One Hell of a ride". One thing is dead certain: He is the most "irish" by far, and this book reflects just that. Carberrys liver is surely made of steel, and sadly his "brutally honest" approach and the revelations are all alcohol-related. In fact, I'd go as far to say that the words booze, drink, party, "hit the town", session etc. are more often used than horse. We all knew Carberry liked to party, and now we know in greater detail. No surprise that he was the first to be caught when Ireland introduced breath-tests on racetracks, as we know he was the one to be done twice, and the only real surprise is that it a) not happend much sooner and b) that he got away comperatively lighty, no matter what he might think.

Noel Meade - if you read the book you'd say amazingly - provided a really nice forword, claiming Carberry's love and understanding for horses, yet as a racehorse owner myself I love the thought (not) that in his (Carberrys) young years he got the racehorses out in afternoon for a bit of a craic and some fun jumping hedges and walls. Once a horse didnt follow suit, so Carberry felt obliged to hit him on the head, injuring his eye - just a bit of fun, you know. Like getting ponies out in the middle of the night and making them jump a wall in the dark - just a bit of craic, of course. A couple of times he accidently shot a pet cat at night, but this must be the irish way of love for all creatures.

The book reveals the amazing fact that despite these monster amounts of alcohol Carberry consumed since his youth he was able to ride more than 1500 winners; proof of his steely consitution, and a love for the racing game - and winning - for sure, after all he was able to keep to his regime for a long time - even though of course he failed in England where every-day-racing made constant partying a tad more difficult. He clearly is a hugely talented jockey, but what a shame he chose to treat his talent like he did - ok, he did not waste it, but then again, he did. Claiming that the alcohol never affected his riding is typical irish as well - "aah -I'll be grand!" (as Johnny Murtagh once described the irish way of dealing with things) - there are other passages where between the lines he admits to just the opposite.

Carberry mentioned some horses - Harchibald gets about half a chapter, and of course BobbyJo as his Grand National winner gets his own - but if you are looking for insides of famous irish horses you'd be disappointed - mind you, he did not ride that many famous one's after all - and I for one might have an explanation why he never won a major race at Cheltenham now as well.

The book might be honest - his private life outside the booze and the partys is delt with very sparingly though, and an older daughter and a son from an early relationship are mentioned only as teenagers on page 258 - but is still a rather depressing read. Carberry might have lived his life in full - as he sees it - but you have the chance of take it or leave it. I'd say the paperback- version will do, though, if there ever is one.

3 stars for some nice photos, and extensive list of each and every winner, and .... well, the fact there is a new racing book. Even though this clearly lacks the racing a bit too much for my liking.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2012 4:21 PM GMT


Bayardo: The Life Times and Legacy of an Edwardian Champion
Bayardo: The Life Times and Legacy of an Edwardian Champion
by Peter A. Corbett
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very thorough biography, but a bit lenghty, 29 Mar. 2011
This book is what it says on the cover: the biography of Bayardo, once upon a time a Champion racehorse and sire. Peter Corbatt has thoroughly researched his subject (and, again as it says on the cover, the time in which he was born) and did a great job in writing it down - books like this are rare, and we must treasure them. This is, however, not the easiest of storys to read, as the wealth of details and facts does make the book a bit lengthy; it would be unfair to say its overloaded with facts, but Corbett WAS very very throrough; it clearly is a subject close to his heart.

As such the book contains many fascinating facts about a horse only the real fans of horseracing and thoroughbred breeding will be familar with; Bayardo's is a story well worth exploring, but you need to be a proper fan of racing to truely enjoy this book; its certainly not for the passing fan who likes a gamble or two.

I can fully recommand this book; and can think of many more horses who would deserve such a detailed record of their life.


Rodders of Arabia
Rodders of Arabia
by Rod Simpson with Stuart Brodkin
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not like it, 29 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Rodders of Arabia (Hardcover)
"Rodders" Simpson might be a colourful charakter, but he was simply a bad reacehorse-trainer whose little storys, many dodgy at least, were not to my liking. Of course hge trained a couple of winners, but even the biggest anorak going will be hard pressed to name a good one. Rodney Simpsons colourful jackets seem to be his main claim to fame (ok, this might be a bit harsh), and the book didnt contain a single story that got me hooked.

The choice with every book is to take it or leave it, and there are many many far better horseracing-related biographies around then this one. If you feel you cannot be without it, wait for the paperback version (if there ever will be one, that is!).


When Sophie Met Darcy Day
When Sophie Met Darcy Day
by Helen Yeadon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, and a true story as well !, 29 Mar. 2011
I picked this book up at Dublin Airport, just because of the horse on the cover. The title (and the cover to be honest) do suggest a teenage-story at best, but thank god I did recognize the name of the author: Helen Yealdon is of course the founder of the Retired Racehorse-Charity Greatwood, and this is her story. If horseracing and racehorses in particular are close to your heart, you will certainly have heard of Greatwood, and you really cannot afford to miss this book. Its easy-to-read style and the wonderful and true, yet sometimes heartbreaking storys of ex-racehorses who were lucky enough to come into Helen's care, and children with special needs who make such amazing developments when working with horses - its fascinating reading, nearly unputdownable.

So don't be fooled by either the tile or the cover - this work is worth every penny or cent. And why not consider to support Greatwood too? Details are in the book, and now you know first hand what a positive effect your money can have.


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