Short Heads and Tall Tales: A light-hearted look at champion jockey Lester Piggott. For a man whose expressions have been said to run the gamut from a frown to a scowl, Piggott has some funny stories up his sleeve. Most people know the careworn features of the man who rode 5,191 winners and 29 Classics including nine Derbys and who was champion jockey 11 times. But few know the wealth of anecdotes and jokes surrounding the legendary figure. Here are stories from people who know him well, like Scobie Breasley, Doug Smith, Henry Cecil, Vincent O’Brien, Lord Howard de Walden and Charles St George.
The Shergar Mystery: It was a kidnap that not only shook the racing world, but made headlines around the globe. The disappearance of a prized stallion, a champion dual Derby-winning racehorse worth £10 million when retired to stud. This is the inside story of one of the most audacious crimes of modern times. Delving into the aftermath over a period of two years, the author pieced together an incredible tale of intrigue in Ireland’s largest-ever police hunt. And he came up with a work that was praised for its meticulous research to break the barrier of rumour and innuendo.
Why was a ransom of £2 million demanded? Who was behind this most audacious crime? With the help of insiders – police, victims and top racing folk – Roy David tells exactly how an armed gang positioned themselves for the daring raid, how they carried out the crime, and what happened afterwards while the whole of Ireland was on high alert. The transcripts of 11 intriguing phone calls between the kidnappers and the Aga Khan’s negotiator in Paris reveal a dramatic countdown as they barter for the horse’s life.
Roy David was the originator and technical adviser of the major BBC Screen Two film drama, Shergar.
Lester Piggott: Downfall of a Legend: The world-renowned jockey, Lester Piggott, brought down and sentenced to three years in prison in a dramatic tale of revenge, jealousy and greed. The author chronicles the often bizarre events leading up to the trial of Britain’s 11-times champion jockey. He traces the top secret investigation by a special Customs hit squad, codenamed Operation Centaur, which would leave no stone unturned in its quest to uncover the multi-million pound racket in cash payments to jockeys. The glamorous world of horseracing will never be the same again after Lester Piggott – at one time tipped to be knighted – is put behind bars and stripped of his OBE.
Downfall of a Legend was an immediate best-seller, reaching No 9 in the Sunday Times list. Short-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, it also ruffled a few feathers in the often confined and often insular world of horseracing.
Robert Sangster: Tycoon of the Turf: The first ever biography of a man who revolutionised the sport of horseracing, turning the stars of the game into multi million dollar commodities. Forsaking a comfortable life in the family’s Vernon Pools empire, he set out to partner legendary Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien and his son-in-law, John Magnier, on a long-term gamble to transform a centuries old British institution. The author also examines the ambiguities of the socialite Sangster; married three times and a friend of the rich and famous – and never too far away from a glass of champagne