FOOTBALL: History That's Bound in Joy; Festival Gold --Forty Years of Cheltenham Racing by Stewart Peters, Tempus Publishing, Pounds 25

The Birmingham Post (England), December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

FOOTBALL: History That's Bound in Joy; Festival Gold --Forty Years of Cheltenham Racing by Stewart Peters, Tempus Publishing, Pounds 25

Byline: Barry Kinghorn

The Cheltenham Festival; my three favourite days of the year --and not just because one of them is often St Patrick's Day and another is often my birthday.

The Festival is a coming together of all that is best in National Hunt racing and, therefore, of all that is best in racing in general. The best horses, the best races, the best atmosphere, the best course, the best surroundings, the best stories.

Never mind that it attracts so many people these days that you can't get a bet on, can't get a drink in and may not see a horse on anything other than a big television screen, the middle three days of the second full week in March are as good as it gets.

Stewart Peters' entertaining history of the last 40 years of the festival (why only 40? Surely Mr Peters' next project should be a history of the first 61) will keep jump racing fans entertained for hours this Christmas.

Every horse, trainer or jockey who ever made their mark is mentioned; the story of the great championship races is told and the winner of every Festival race since 1963 is detailed.

I enjoyed reading again the exploits of the great names of my racing youth, like Lanzarote, L'Escargot, The Dikler, Pendil and Crisp --the latter the first horse on whom I ever lost money when he was beaten by Red Rum in the 1973 Grand National; two years before, he won the TwoMile (now the Queen Mother) Champion Chase under Paul Kelleway.

Then, there are the greats of racing history; the epic battles of Arkle and Mill House, the triumphs of three-time Champion Hurdler Persian War, the great jockeys --Terry Biddlecombe, Pat Taaffe, Bob (B R) Davies, Stan Mellor . . . I was close to drowning in the rush of nostalgia, aided by the splendid work of Bernard Parkin, Cheltenham's official photographer since 1972.

And I shall sit down with a glass or two of something Irish on Christmas afternoon and read the whole thing again. Wonderful.

Martin Warrillow World Cup 2003 --The Official Account of England's World Cup TriumphBy Team England Rugby, Orion, pounds 16.99You've got to hand it to Team England. A mere nine days after lifting the ultimate prize in the world of rugby union, the inside story of the ascent to glory hits the bookshops.

Someone, somewhere had a great deal of confidence in the organisation. Not for them the nervous 80 or so minutes of the man outside the ground with his bundles of T-shirts bearing countries' names and branding them grand slam champions before a ball has been kicked.

This book was sitting waiting for the blanks to be filled in before the 2003 World Cup had even begun --the determination and confidence which has characterised the years under Clive Woodward's guidance was such that there was never any question the story would not miss the chance to be told in time for Christmas.

Of course, it helped that the juggernauts were nailed-on favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy . . . one can't imagine the presses in Edinburgh were sitting with a man's finger hovering over the 'on' button (it pains me to write).

It'll shift bucketloads. And with good reason. Every aspect of England's triumph is pored over in great detail, with ample space given for the players to express their feelings and hopes as the tournament progresses.

Ian Stafford, brought on board to help knock the reams of player quotes into shape and meld them with match detail has done a fine job, although there are only so many times a match can be described as 'massive' or 'huge' before the currency of such words becomes meaningless.

This is a book to be bought by all those who never had the chance to collect all the supplements which kept the Sunday newspapers busy for six weeks --more than likely including the many thousands of fans who made the trip Down Under to follow their heroes.

Pin-sharp photography augments the efforts which should illuminate the players' observations and match detail, although the somewhat scattgergun approach to quotations lifted out of the copy not only looks messy, it provides us with such gems as 'I felt a bit like a rabid dog in quarantine' (Martyn Wood), 'This is just like Fame Academy .

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

FOOTBALL: History That's Bound in Joy; Festival Gold --Forty Years of Cheltenham Racing by Stewart Peters, Tempus Publishing, Pounds 25


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?