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Book Review: "Royal Racing"

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Royal Racing

Royal Racing by Sean Smith

BBC Worldwide Ltd.

The Bottom Line

This is an excellent work for Royal fans and racing enthusiasts alike, especially those with an interest in the recent history of British racing.
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  • Excellent look at Royal involvement in racing
  • Short story format is an easier read
  • Great photography adds to the experience


  • Queen and Queen Mother often confused


  • Thoroughbred horse racing has always been referred to as the Sport of Kings.
  • Royalty has traditionally been involved in the sport as owners and often as trainers and riders.
  • King George V would lay the foundation of the current Queen Elizabeth's involvement in racing...
  • ...bringing the young princess to the Royal Stud to see the stallions and giving her Shetland ponies
  • Most of the royals' horses raced in National Hunt rather than in flat competition.
  • In the '56 Grand National, Devon Loch had a commanding 10-length lead down the stretch but...
  • ...without explanation, stopped 50 yards short of the wire and fell splay legged as E.S.B. went by.
  • Smith wrote, "The postmortems began immediately and never stopped for 45 years."
  • Another embarrassing situation was the firing of long time trainer Dick Hern as he lay in hospital.
  • Smith commented, "Sometimes in racing, horses are treated with more compassion than people."

Guide Review - Book Review: "Royal Racing"

In Royal Racing, BBC author Sean Smith chronicles the involvement in racing of two very popular owners, the reigning Queen Elizabeth II and the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Much more than a history book and not simply a lengthy list of victories (over 1000 in total between them), Smith examines not just the royal family but the many personalities both human and equine that contributed to the overall experience for the royals and race fans alike. The book is full of fascinating stories including Princess Anne actually riding a horse to victory, how a royal horse was doped by a mysterious woman who gained entry into the stables, and strangest of all how the Queen cracked open a creme brulee with her high heeled shoe!
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