Title: The Magnificent Seven
Author: Graham Sharp
First published: 2001
Edition: Hardback, published by Aurum Press Ltd in 2005
‘Seven winners in a day: How Frankie Dettori achieved the impossible’
I used to be very passionate about horse racing, but in the last few years I have not paid as much attention to the sport as I would have liked. I do have a nice collection of books on horse racing, many of which I have already read, but also a few I haven’t yet. This was one of the latter and I finally decided to pick it up.
28 September 1996 was a remarkable day. Popular jockey, Frankie Dettori (one of my personal favourites), managed to win every race on the seven-race card at Ascot. This was an incredible achievement. The odds of that happening were 25,095:1 according to the back of the book. After all, the horses he rode were decent enough, but mostly not the favourites.
This books looks at the achievement itself, but also at the people who backed the horses and won big, and the bookmakers, who lost big. It’s very betting central, which is no surprise, as the author worked for William Hill at the time of writing. This can make it a little dry at times as he goes through the figures, but fascinating at the same time to see what an incredible financial impact one day had on the bookmakers and on those lucky enough to have backed Frankie’s horses.
Overall, I did enjoy the book, even if it was on the dry side at times. It was interesting to get an in-depth look into the betting industry and see how fragile their business can be when something unlikely DOES happen.
Overall, it was worth reading for me personally, but I doubt this would hold any appeal for someone without a prior interest in racing and/or betting, or maybe maths. I have read plenty of ‘horsey’ books about horse racing. This is not one of those, but it offers a fascinating insight into an infamous industry.
Finally, a note on the edition. With the dust cover, it looks cheap and badly designed. Not impressed. Without the dust cover, this is a gorgeous royal blue cloth bound book with silver lettering on the spine. Inside, each chapter starts with a quote and a silhouette of Frankie doing his famous flying dismount, which is a nice touch. At the top of the pages there is a silhouette of a race horse racing to the finishing post at the edge of the page. As you progress in the book, so the horse progresses to the line. I love it! A shame about the cover…
4 out of 7 stars