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The Druid's Lodge Confederates were a syndicate of five inspired gamblers - a stud owner, a royal vet, a master of foxhounds, and two city financiers - who decided that racing could, and would, pay handsomely. In total secrecy, from isolated, purpose-built stables near Stonehenge, the 'Hermits of Salisbury Plain' prepared a string of horses to secure some of the most fabulous betting coups ever landed on the turf.
The powerful second novel in Tim Pears's acclaimed West Country trilogy. Two teenagers, bound by love yet divided by fate, forge separate paths in England before World War I. 1912. Leo Sercombe is on a journey. Aged thirteen and banished from the secluded farm of his childhood, he travels through Devon, grazing on berries and sleeping in the woods. Behind him lies the past, and before him the West Country, spread out like a tapestry. But a wanderer is never alone for long, try as he might--and soon Leo is taken in by gypsies, with their wagons, horses, and vivid attire. Yet he knows he cannot linger, and must forge on toward the western horizon. Leo's love, Lottie, is at home. Life on the estate continues as usual, yet nothing is as it was. Her father is distracted by the promise of new love and Lottie is increasingly absorbed in the natural world: the profusion of wild flowers in the meadow, the habits of predators, and the mysteries of anatomy. And of course, Leo is absent. How will the two young people ever find each other again? In The Wanderers, Tim Pears's writing, both transcendent and sharply focused, reaches new heights, revealing the beauty and brutality that coexist in nature. Timeless, searching, charged with raw energy and gentle humor, this is a delicately wrought tale of adolescence; of survival; of longing, loneliness, and love.
Do you know what the oldest horse race in Britain is, where the term ‘gee-gee’ comes from, or who is credited with bringing racing to Ascot? Fact-packed but light-hearted in style, this reliable reference book and quirky guide reveals little-known facts, details of classic races, famous riders, racing records, amusing anecdotes and criminal goings-on. A compendium of the fascinating, strange and entertaining, The Little Book of Horse Racing can be dipped into time and time again to reveal something new about this ancient sport.
On Wednesday 4 June 1913, fledgling newsreel cameras captured just over two-and-a-half minutes of neverto-be-forgotten British social and sporting history. The 250,000 people thronging Epsom Downs carried with them a quartet of combustible elements: a fanatical, publicity-hungry suffragette; a scapegoat for the Titanic disaster and the pillar of the Establishment who bore him a personal grudge; a pair of feuding jockeys at odds over money and glory; and, finally, at the heart of the action, two thoroughbred horses - one a vicious savage and one the consummate equine athlete. Taken together, this was a recipe for the most notorious horse race in British history. One hundred years on, this particular Derby Day is remembered for two reasons: the fatal intervention of Emily Davison, a militant suffragette who brought down the King's runner, and the controversial disqualification of Bower Ismay's horse Craganour on the grounds of rough riding - the first and only time a Derby-winner has forfeited its title for this reason. The sensation of Davison's questionable interference in the name of suffrage has overshadowed the outrage of Craganour's disqualification and the intricate reasons behind it. Now, with a view to allowing this scandal the attention it deserves, Michael Tanner replays the most dramatic day in Turf history - and finally uncovers the truth of the Suffragette Derby.
The Scots & The Turf tells the story of the great contribution made to the world of Thoroughbred horse racing by the Scots and those of Scottish ancestry, past and present, culminating with the 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur. The influence has been across the board, from jockeys to trainers and owners, as well as many legendary horses. Outstanding personalities include trainers Mark Johnston on the Flat and Alan King over jumps, five-time champion Flat jockey Willie Carson, and the greatest of all jumping enthusiasts, the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. While they are long established names, the 21st century has embraced a new roll of honour headed by One For Arthur’s trainer Lucinda Russell, Keith Dalgleish, who has established new records for a Scottish-based (Flat) trainer, and Lucy Alexander, a brilliant young lady jump jockey, and many others. Recognition of the part played by all those from north of the border is long overdue and The Scots & The Turf sets the record straight with a fascinating account of those who have helped make horse racing into the fabulous spectacle it is today.

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