Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844 Paperback – 26 May 2011
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Foulkes tells the murky story with characteristic panache. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
Fascinating (CATHOLIC HERALD)
The book not only concerns itself with the Derby ... along the way, there are murky tales of illegal gaming houses, prize fighting, murder, suicide and duelling. (SOUTH WALES ARGUS)
Men, money, duelling and murder: welcome to the infamous Derby race of 1844 and the gambling mania that gripped early 19th century Britain.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The cast of characters in the book is wide and varied - from the gentlemen to the blackguards. There is nothing more zealous than a convert and George Bentinck was determined to stamp out corruption in horse-racing. The plot in the 1844 Derby has been repeated often over the years - substituting horses - and on this occasion was not successful.
A fascinating insight into changing society and how fortunes were won and lost.
Among all sporting scandals, the 1844 Derby stands out because it involved several apparently unrelated scandals. There was cheating to try and ensure victory; the race was for three-year-old horses, but two older horses ran in the race, these being Running Rein and Leander. There was also cheating to stop at least one horse winning; Ratan, who was very likely the best horse in the race, was drugged up to his eyeballs and ridden by a jockey who had bet against him, yet still finished seventh of 29 as they crossed the line.Read more ›
When the 1844 Derby ended in chaos, with the two favourite horses doped and the result challenged, the subsequent court case threw a light into this murky world. And this forced changes throughout society as the hedonistic free-wheeling spirit of the time gave way to Victorian values and codes of respectable behaviour.
But the book not only concerns itself with the Derby, as historian Nicholas Foulkes also examines the way that gambling had affected all sections of society. Along the way there are murky tales of illegal gaming houses, prize fighting, murder, suicide and dueling.
Gentleman and Blackguards, with its cast of colourful characters, is a very readable account of a fascinating point in British history - the dawning of the Victorian age.