The humour that is thinly disguised and John’s powers of observation do justice to the ‘downs and ups’ of racing and most importantly the ownership of horses in training. The factual explanation and graphic detail of the costs of racing are so well documented; I haven’t seen such a good account of the sums involved anywhere else.
Alex and John’s permanent and over-riding concern for the well-being of their horses and the people looking after them are strong themes, as is the recurring wish to get Cheltenham horses and how often we have disappointed in the lack of them!
Other themes include John’s apparently unending ability to deal with disappointment, although I feel sometimes it was greater than documented. The need for racecourses to have a very close look at themselves and completely restructure the way their owners are appreciated.
The surprise? That John managed to win back as much as 20% of his training costs!
All owners will enjoy this book as they will be able to compare and contrast their experience of ownership. I really think this book could become a handbook for The Racehorse Owners Association. Prospective owners should read this as it shows, the trials, tribulations, expense and excitement of racing.
I would summarise the book as: “A personal insight into racehorse ownership.” “The account of a venture into The Sport of Kings and (or by) High Street Traders.” “Only shoes and horses”!
Paul Webber, Racehorse Trainer
Pictured: Richard Johnson drives Cobbler's Queen to victory in the 2m 5 and a half furlong handicap hurdle at Huntingdon 27.1.10. Photograph courtesy of: Edward Whitaker.