Warriors on Horseback: The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey by Bob Champion, MBE
Winner of the prestigious Dr. Tony Ryan literary prize, awarded to the author of the best book on any aspect of thoroughbred horse racing. A remarkable and riveting insight into the lives of jockeys. Jockeys who earn a living race riding on racehorses are a incredible group. They are fiercely competitive on the racecourse but enjoy a tribal kinship in the weighing room. The minimum requirements for long-term success are courage, skill, athleticism and an intuitive understanding of how to `get a tune' out of a horse. This book celebrates these warriors on horseback, both the old and the new, highlighting the headline performers for jump racing and flat racing in the last five centuries - male and female and from around the globe - as well as taking the reader on a behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyle of professional jockeys in the 21st century.The book takes a tour of Aintree's weighing room, tracks a day in the life of a Derby-winning jockey and investigates the twin challenges faced by jockeys: inevitable injuries and 24/7 weight management. The book also looks back at historical events where jockeys have made the headlines, including: the scandal of jockey Sam Chifney, Lord Bunbury and the Prince of Wales; Captain Becher and his attempt to negotiate Aintree's formidable fences during the Grand National's inaugural running; Fred Archer, who committed suicide in the mists of mental and physical misery; Red Pollard's partnership with the great American horse, Seabiscuit; Bob Champion, who recovered from cancer to win the Grand National, and Frankie Dettori's magnificent seven wins in one day at Ascot. Dettori is just one of the more recent jockeys featured; others include Lester Piggott, Bill Shoemaker, Scobie Breasley, Julie Krone, John Francome and Tony McCoy. The book features quotes and insights from eminent jockeys and racing insiders, people who know the profession and the sport; and is illustrated with captivating images from the world of horseracing. Foreword by Bob Champion MBE, former jump jockey and Grand National winner.