Horse racing may be famously known as the ‘sport of kings’ but, in the pursuit of prize money and getting one over the bookies, it also has attained a notoriety for some underhand, corrupt and downright illegal practices.Horse racing in Wales is not exempt from these dodgy dealings and on many occasions has led the way in it’s ingenuity to devise jaw-dropping cons and cunning deceptions.
In The Scams, Scandals and Gambles of Horse Racing in Wales, Brian Lee, the veteran and highly regarded Welsh racing correspondent has, for the first time, compiled a comprehensive collection of true stories that reveals Welsh racing’s most notorious crooks, loveable rouges and most infamous scams, including:
· The Oyster Maid affair, when a great gambling coup engineered at Tenby in 1927 nearly put paid to horse racing in Wales and was said by the Queen Mother's jockey, Dick Francis, to have been "the most bitterly resented betting coup National Hunt racing has ever known''.
· The astounding story of Am I Blue's when, in 2010, a four-year-old filly, owned and trained by Aberkenfig's Delyth Thomas, romped home at Hereford after being backed from 25-1 to 5-1, despite having woeful form. As one reporter put it: ‘There was outrage in some quarters and amusement in others.’
· The elaborate switching of horses and the cutting of the telegraph wires at Bath races in 1953 which saw well-know Cardiff bookie Gomer Charles jailed for 2 years for fraud after his syndicate place £100k worth of bets on a ‘ringer’ racehorse that won at 20-1.
The Scandals and Gambles of Horse Racing in Wales includes stories both from racing ‘under rules’ but also from point-to-point, known as racing ‘between-the-flags’, as well as flapping (unlicensed racing).
The stories in this enthralling book, in which the reader will meet many of the rogues of the turf, are informative as well as fascinating and will appeal to not only horse racing fans but also readers of true crime.
Brian Lee is the author of around 25 books and these include Welsh Steeplechase Jockeys, The Races Came Off-The story of point-to-point racing in South and West Wales and the recently reprinted The History of the Welsh Grand National -from Deerstalker to Emperor's Choice and which former champion jockey Peter Scudamore said "not only documents the history of the great race, but also charts the development of National Hunt racing.
Brian Lee has worked as a racing correspondent for 50 years, writing for: The Sporting Life,
Western Mail, Horse & Hound, the Racing Post. He is also a prolific author and this will be his 27th book.