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100 Magic Moments of the Turf by Graham Roe

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


100 Magic Moments of the Turf

100 Magic Moments of the Turf by Graham Roe

Green Umbrella Publishing

The Bottom Line

This book should be enjoyed by fans of horse racing history in that many important events from the last 40 years of both flat and National Hunt racing were touched on by the 100 individuals interviewed. Racing fans will enjoy reading about the human side of the sport and how so many people's lives are affected by this great game, directly and indirectly, as each "moment" is essentially an excerpt of that contributor's autobiography. The reader will then think about what their answer would be if someone asked the question of what his or her magic moment in racing would be.
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  • Unique presentation, not the usual "Top 100" list
  • Colorful, descriptive first person accounts culled from interviews
  • Can be enjoyed by all fans of horse racing history


  • European focus, token coverage of American racing


  • Anthony Knott, an amateur rider for 30 years, finally wins a race aboard a horse he owned.
  • He was given a suspension for excessive use of the whip but he retired from riding, his work complete.
  • Barry Dennis, a bookmaker, lost $40,000 during Frankie Dettori's seven-race sweep at Ascot in 1996.
  • Luca Cumani won the 1983 Arlington Million with 38-1 Tolomeo, but cashed bets with English bookmakers at 90-1 odds.
  • John Gosden, while training in California, helped "save" a mobster whose bet didn't go as planned.
  • Clive Brittain trained Kentucky Derby runner-up Bold Arrangement, a colt that cost him just 14,000 guineas as a yearling
  • John Buckingham won the Grand National aboard 100-1 longshot Foinavon, after a pileup at the fence now named after the horse.

Guide Review - 100 Magic Moments of the Turf by Graham Roe

Fans and participants of any sport, horse racing included, have certain moments in the sport's history they cherish most. The moment may be of personal significance or significance to the sport as a whole, but they achieve the same goal, which is to add an emotional attachment to that point in time and to the sport in general. The title may suggest yet another "top 100" list compiled by either one person or a committee, which is a very common style, and this reviewer fully expected this upon receiving the book. However, author and retired jockey Graham Roe took a completely different approach, one that sets his publication apart from other "best of" works.

In this, his first non-fiction racing book, Roe interviewed 100 people in European racing and assisted them in putting into words what their top moments are. Roe mostly interviewed the usual suspects -- jockeys, trainers, owners, and breeders -- and as you'd expect, most of these people have big stakes wins or specific top horses they were involved with. However, many of the stories were much more obscure and often these were more entertaining to read. Other stories involved grooms, starters, press photographers, journalists, farriers, and officials. Despite the European focus of the book, there are several stories that have connections to American racing.

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