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The best horse racing books for people to read

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There is an abundance of literature available for those interested in all things equestrian. Whether you want to learn more about the history of the sport, or find out how to bet on horse racing, there are plenty of resources both online and in books.

Here are some of the most highly recommended books on the topic of horse racing to consider adding to your reading list:

Champion Jump Horse Racing Jockeys – From 1945 to present day by Neil Clark

If learning about the history of the races and some of the best jockeys appeals to you, then this book by Neil Clark should hit the spot. This text takes a deep dive into just how much the National Hunt has changed since 1945 and looks at it in the context of British history too.

The book explores how safety for horses and jockeys has greatly improved and how the expansion of the motorway network has made travel to race days much easier for participants.

Clark focuses on some of the biggest and most memorable moments in racing history, including the unforgettable collapse of Devon Loch in 1956 and the Grand National. He also reviews the horse Red Rum who is a three time winner of the Grand National. His stories look at the careers of notable horses, their jockeys and their trainers too.

Strange Stuff: Racing Post Chronicles

If you are someone that enjoys knowing lots of unusual facts, the Strange Stuff: Racing Post Chronicles is one for you. Journalist Graham Sharpe worked in the press office of William Hill betting shops.

In this particular piece, Sharpe chronicles some of the most obscure, unexpected and strangest tales from horse racing history. These tales concern the horses, jockeys, owners, trainers and racegoers from years gone by.

True Colours – Barry Geraghty

If looking for an autobiography style book, there is Barry Geraghty’s True Colours. This text was the winner of the 2021 International Autobiography of the Year in the Telegraph’s Sports Books Awards.

Barry is an Irish horse racing legend and is the fourth most successful jump jockeys in racing history. He has ridden many of the greatest horses, including Moscow Flyer, Kicking King, Monty’s Pass and has the second most wins at Cheltenham.

Having broken all his limbs, shoulders, nose and ribs throughout his career, Barry decided to retire in 2020. This book discusses his mental resilience and ability to beat the bookies’ odds. It is a very honest and intriguing insight into the life of a talented professional jockey.

Seabiscuit – An American Legend

Now for a legend from the US, Seabiscuit was the ultimate underdog in the racing world. Written by Laura Hillenrand and published in 1999, this text was adapted into a feature film in 2003.

Seabiscuit was a big surprise in the racing world and was at first discounted due to his crooked legs. Charles Howard, owner of the horse, hired Tom Smith to train Seabiscuit, who in turn bought on jockey Red Pollard. They managed to turn Seabiscuit from a chaotic untrained horse into an American racing legend in the space of just four years.

This well-written text was the recipient of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in 2001.

The Horse God Built – The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse

Another equestrian legend is the horse Secretariat, who was the only two year old horse ever to win the Horse of the Year in 1972 and was the winner of the Triple Crown in 1973. Secretariat is the only horse to ever be listed on ESPN’s top fifty athletes of the 20th century.

Best selling writer Lawrence Scanlan writes this beautiful tribute to the horse and Eddie “Shorty” Sweat, who played a huge role in his successful racing career. The South Carolina born Shorty was Secretariat’s groom and understood the creature far better than anyone else.

The book focuses on the special and unique bond between horse and man. It is full of wonderful pictures and fascinating facts about the pair.

Picking Winners – A Horseplayer’s Guide

Last but not least is a book for sports bettors and horse racing enthusiasts. This text is a well written and in-depth guide into handicap strategies in the world of professional horse racing.

The author Andrew Beyer revolutionized handicapping with his introduction of Beyer Speed Figures and was a horse racing columnist for the Washington Post. This guide was published in 1994 but is still useful to the modern bettor looking to understand handicapping today.

These are just some of the top rated texts on the topic of horse racing, there is a wide range of interesting literature on this fascinating and complex sport.