Search for your sports books:

Featured Publisher: John Blake
Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



Read Review
<back to archive

Mr Darley’s Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing in 25 Horses By Christopher McGrath

Release date: 30th June, 2016
Publisher: John Murray

List Price: £20.00
Our Price: £17.00
You Save: £3 (15%)
Buy Now

Some books take a while to get going, engaging with the reader only slowly, rather like cautious lovers who retain the subconscious option of walking away should things not work out as they hope. Other books insist upon your uninterrupted attention from the outset, a category reserved for finely-crafted tomes such as Mr Darley’s Arabian.

That all thoroughbred horses are descended from just three stallions imported to England around three centuries ago is well known, although author Christopher McGrath maintains that two of them, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerley Turk have, over the past hundred years, “been eradicated from the ‘top line’ of racehorse pedigrees.”

The third stallion, the Darley Arabian, never raced and produced only around 20 foals after he was exported from modern day Libya to Yorkshire, yet he would create a ‘eugenic miracle’, uniting the lineage of nineteen out of twenty thoroughbreds lining up for any race in the world. “As founding fathers go,” writes McGrath, “Mr Darley’s Arabian must be counted the daddy of them all.”

Mr Darley’s Arabian opens in 2011 at the starting gate of the 2,000 Guineas as the great Frankel is loaded, his presence having an apparent, if unseen, impact upon his dozen four-legged rivals who sense a dangerous opponent first noted in the parade ring.

The description of how the race unfolds over the next 97 seconds is truly gripping, sufficient for any sports enthusiast to embrace the thrill of the chase, even though Frankel romps home,

The author wastes no time reminding us that the day’s prize money (£200,000) is ‘incidental’ to the stud fees commanded by Frankel and his ilk (£125,000 a time); a 12-month-old foal sired by Frankel would sell for £1.15 million.

This is a fascinating tale of horses comparable to Frankel and of those who owned, trained and traded them. The story is peppered with a cast of ‘characters’, a euphemism for shysters, many of ‘noble’ birth, and enough scandal, double-dealing and adventure to fill the trashiest novel.

Fortunately, Mr Darley’s Arabian is very well written, its narrative racing along effortlessly – as you might expect of a thoroughbred author.


<back to archive


Toolstation


SBOTM Current Top 10

The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods By Frank Strack
Pursuit Books
Read Review Buy Now
The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory By David Bolchover
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Tom Simpson: Bird On A Wire By Andy McGrath
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
But Seriously An Autobiography By John McEnroe
W & N
Read Review Buy Now
The Descent By Thomas Dekker
Ebury Press
Read Review Buy Now
We Are Sunday League By Ewan Flynn
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
The Fall of the House of FIFA By David Conn
Yellow Jersey Press
Read Review Buy Now
Gentleman and Player The Story of Colin Cowdrey, Cricket’s Most Elegant and Charming Batsman By Andrew Murtagh
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
The Premier League: 25 Years By Lloyd Pettiford
Urbane Publications
Read Review Buy Now
Johnny Haynes Portrait of a Football Genius By James Gardner
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now

Amazon’s top 6 best-sellers

© Sharks Media Ltd 2004 – 2012. Site designed and maintained by Marcus Hamblett for Furydesign.