Giving books, however, is always a pleasure – especially if they’re books about horseracing. Which is why, this week, we’re giving away a copy of David Ashforth’s latest release Curiosities of Horseracing (so much more valuable than the tips we hand out – this Saturday’s selection is Eagle’s Realm in the Prelude Hurdle at Market Rasen).
As a columnist on The Sporting Life, David Ashforth inspired readers with his weekly insight – not just reports of who won what and by how far – but, more typically, which horses he’d backed and how much he’d lost. And all the while, we’d be entertained with stories about the strange and wonderful characters that populate the sport. If you enjoy this blog, it’s maybe because it owes a great deal to Ashforth’s influence; if you hate it, it’s because I’ll never write so well as he does.
Among an array of anecdotes contained within Curiosities of Horseracing, some of my favourites include Lester Piggott’s ice cream, the seven hooves of Eclipse, and Benny O’Hanlon’s phone box.
At Kelso’s Family Fun Racemeeting, on Sunday 2nd October, we’re inviting children to dress up as their favourite character from any book – perhaps they’ll get inspiration from Ashforth too? Or maybe they won’t – there’s a lot to be said for Roald Dahl and JK Rowling. Either way, the prizes include book tokens for the best costumes.
But, before then, for your chance to win a copy of Ashforth's Curiosities Of Horseracing, write to email@example.com recounting your own favourite racing anecdote. I’ll announce a winner next week.
Failing that, copies can be purchased from www.merlinunwin.co.uk. Please, just don’t ask if you can borrow mine.