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Alter egos 20: The Stig

The Stig has been something of a legend on Top Gear since his first appearance in 2002. Over the years three different drivers have regularly donned the full face helmet and racing suit to blast powerful cars round the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold aerodrome in Surrey, and another half dozen or so have […]

Alter egos 19: Get It On

I remember Get It On first time round as a number 1 single in 1971 for T. Rex. By the time of its release Marc Bolan had long moved from the music of the psychedelic folk/rock duo Tyrannosaurus Rex that filled my student rooms, and was a full on leader of glam rock.

Alter egos 16: Ronaldinho

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro. He is also captain of the Brazilian national team. His main playing position is as a attacking midfielder or forward. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 […]

Alter egos 15: Upper Lambourn

When John Betjamin visited the Valley of the Racehorse, he captured his thoughts in a poem called Upper Lambourn. It’s probably not one of his best, and certainly not one of his better-known pieces. He takes us to the tomb of an unknown trainer who, in 1923, trained a hundred winners. Was it a real […]

Alter egos 13: Cristoforo Colombo

In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. So begins the poem describing the historic journey in which Cristoforo Colombo set out to find a western passage to India, ended up in the Bahamas and was declared the first white person to land in what later became called America. He had a big team […]

Alter egos 12: Sam Spade

Sam Spade is the fictional private detective at the heart of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel The Maltese Falcon. Hammett saw him as blond, well-built and mischievous, a far cry from the dark haired, slender, crisp questioning portrayal given by Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 film.

Hereford to sign off with plenty of runners

The current cold snap sees early (and sometimes late) morning inspections before pretty much every jumps meeting. One course where it looks as though things will go ahead without having to cross the inspection hazard is Hereford, which stages its final day of racing on Sunday.

Alter egos 11 – Dunlough Bay

In a week in which there has been a lot of attention on cocaine, it is appropriate to consider Dunlough Bay, a point about as far South and West as you can go in Ireland. It’s a quiet area, with a few villages scattered around its shores, and quite popular for sea fishing in a […]

Alter egos 10 – Anton Dolin

Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey-Kay has rather too many letters to be registered as the name of a racehorse with the Jockey Club. And Patrick Kay, as young Sydney was known as he grew up, wasn’t anything special. He needed a name with rather more chutzpah if he was to make it in his chosen […]

Alter egos 7- Polly Peachum

Conditions were pretty filthy at Stratford yesterday, very suitable for a horse that shares her name with a character from one of the murkiest musical operas ever to be staged. In that you can take your pick between John Gay’s 18th century The Beggars Opera and Kurt Weill’s 20th century re-working, The Threepenny Opera.

Alter egos 6 – Yeats

Yeats was a racehorse of which it could be argued that his biggest break was a major setback at the time in 2004. He ran only once as a two year old, an effortless win in his maiden. Yeats followed up with two equally impressive successes early the following season.

Alter Egos 5 – Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald might be a late developer. When she ran in the maiden for three year olds at Windsor yesterday it was only her second race. Nothing compared with her rivals Homeboy and Lupo Doro, who had already run 21 and 16 times respectively. She showed promise, as she had done when a beaten favourite […]

Alter egos 3 – Debussy

Debussy has had three incarnations as a horse. The earliest, foaled in 2002, raced exclusively in America, mainly in claiming races. He had eight different trainers, which rather suggests he may have been claimed several times and moved on to a new trainer each time.

Racing Olympian – Chris Brasher

Chris Brasher was most widely known for his achievements in the world of athletics, where he had three major achievements, the distance growing in each of them. In 1954 he led Chris Chataway and Roger Bannister for the first two laps of Oxford’s Iffley Road athletics track in Bannister’s historic mile race when the four-minute […]

The greatest training feat ever?

To train any horse to win a race is a worthwhile achievement. To train one to win the same race more than once takes some doing, though it can be helped if the horse in question comes into its best at the time of year that race is run. But to target the same race […]

Racing: business or sport?

Chelsea football club yesterday hosted the inaugural Leaders in Racing conference alongside a similar event for Leaders in Football. Had you attended you might well have come away wondering whether racing was a sport at all.

Ormonde – Champion racehorse of 19th century

Few racehorses go through their career unbeaten, but one that did was Ormonde, widely recognised as the best horse ever to race in the 19th century. 15 September 1886 was a landmark day in his career, as on that day he won the St Leger and so completed the Triple Crown for that season.