Stoker Devonshire

Henry Cecil, by Brough Scott – review

This is by far the best book on racing I have ever read. It combines a truly extraordinary story — one that no novelist would have dared to submit — with brilliant writing by an author who is almost as knowledgeable about horses and the turf as his subject. Sir Henry Cecil had a privileged

The winning streak

Fortunately the author explained how he came to make the choices for this book in his column here (29 September), because otherwise your reviewer might have wasted words in debating the criteria for inclusion. These are the 100 of the top racehorses that Robin Oakley admires the most and which he thinks are particularly popular.

A new chapter

 ‘Dear Heywood, I hear Mollie is leaving at the end of next week, in which case so am I. Yours ever, Nancy.’ So wrote my ever-direct aunt, Nancy Mitford, to her employer Heywood Hill, the founder of the famous Mayfair bookshop, on 17 May 1944. Whether or not Nancy’s threat had some effect, she continued

Just mad about horses

A Year at the Races, the title of this extraordinary book by Jane Smiley, is the peg on which to hang the author’s remarkable insights into the horse and all his workings. It is indeed about racing and her experiences with her various horses at the Californian tracks, but that is almost a sideline. This