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Mr Darley's Arabian High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing in 25 Horses by Chris McGrath
  

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Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2016.

The story of racing told through the bloodline of twenty-five exceptional horses. With a canvas that extends from the diamond mines of South Africa to the trenches of the Great War, and a cast ranging from Smithfield meat salesmen to the inspiration for Mr Toad, and from legendary jockeys to not one, but two disreputable Princes of Wales (and a very unamused Queen Victoria), Mr Darley's Arabian shows us the many faces of the sport of kings.

Synopsis

Mr Darley's Arabian High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing in 25 Horses by Chris McGrath

Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award In 1704 a bankrupt English merchant sent home the colt he had bought from Bedouin tribesmen near the ruins of Palmyra. Thomas Darley hoped this horse might be the ticket to a new life back in Yorkshire. But he turned out to be far more than that: and although Mr Darley's Arabian never ran a race, 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today are descended from him. In this book, for the first time, award-winning racing writer Christopher McGrath traces this extraordinary bloodline through twenty-five generations to our greatest modern racehorse, Frankel. The story of racing is about man's relationship with horses, and Mr Darley's Arabian also celebrates the men and women who owned, trained and traded the stallions that extended the dynasty. The great Eclipse, for instance, was bred by the Duke who foiled Bonnie Prince Charlie's invasion (with militia gathered from Wakefield races) and went on to lead the Jockey Club. But he only became a success once bought and raced by a card-sharp and brothel-keeper - the racecourse has always brought high and low life together. McGrath expertly guides us through three centuries of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost: our sporting life offers a fascinating view into our history.

Reviews

'An excellent history ... McGrath is one of the finest sportswriters of this generation ... Brilliant' -- David Walsh SUNDAY TIMES

'A racing book like no other - a book of remarkable scope' -- Robin Oakley THE SPECTATOR

'Erudite, wry and astute ... extraordinary horses and a rich seam of cultural history woven into a fascinating book' -- Melanie Reid THE TIMES, Book of the Week

'A vivid, sweeping history of impressive scope. McGrath's eye for a story and eloquent turns of phrase will delight' -- Nick Pulford RACING POST

'A racy gallop ... a teeming, colourful survey [with] a great deal to inform and entertain' -- Nicholas Clee OBSERVER

'An engaging tale of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost' HORSE MAGAZINE

'A dark horse contender' EVENING STANDARD

About the Author

Chris McGrath was racing correspondent at the Independent for seven years and has won multiple awards, including racing journalist of the year. This is his first book.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th June 2016

Author

Chris McGrath

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Publisher

John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Hardback
448 pages

Categories

Sport from the Armchair
Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners

Horse racing
History of sport

ISBN

9781848549838

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