I have finished the book and as a horse nut found myself once more wandering down well-worn and familiar paths – the excuses by the trainers run parallel for both NH and Flat.
Yes I did enjoy it because of the close parallels with my own experience and would certainly recommend to anyone foolish enough to start thinking of owning a racehorse or two or even a leg as a must read.
John is very brave in keeping a list of his costs – for me to do so would send me into a depression that would take weeks to dispel. He spells out the painful lessons, it costs as much to keep a good horse as a bad, cut your losses, beware trainer talk. Also the heartbreak when a horse goes down and 99% of those at the course just don’t seem to care.
On themes I feel John is right in his criticism of the crap facilities dished out to owners by racecourses because they need horses just as much as owners need courses. Also right about the crowding out of the ones that pay for the horse to be there—all not helped by the large number of badges handed out to syndicates.
Maybe the jockey school should have it as compulsory reading for their apprentices.
I loved the book and it was good to realise I am not alone in my madness.
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.