The Boss: The Life and Times of Horseracing Legend Gordon W. Richards (Mainstream sport)

51F4M3YpvrL

Get The Best Deal
See Special Price
BUY NOW

The sudden death of Gordon W. Richards in late September 1998 brought a premature end to a legendary training career which had seen him rise from obscurity to national fame as master of his profession.

Consigned to racing’s scrap-heap with a broken back at the age of 29, he scraped a living as a livery stable proprietor and horse-dealer in a remote part of Northumberland until, five years later, he `discovered’ Playlord and a new dawn broke.

Rugged, demanding, often outspoken, sometimes ruthless but never lacking in humour, Gordon made relentless progress through the training ranks. `The Boss’, as he was widely known, liked to run his stable his own way. Horses, not humans, headed the pecking order, as many famous riders and owners discovered to their cost. Few escaped unscathed, but in over 30 years he employed only six stable jockeys, and two of these, Ron Barry and Jonjo O’Neill, gained championship honours.

The Boss charts the successes of the man who twice saddled more than a hundred winners in a single season and who scooped the pool in the Aintree Grand National on two occasions. This enthralling biography, written with full co-operation of Richards himself, provides a compelling insight into the forces that drove him to become one of the most respected trainers in the world.

For a hesitant moment the massed gallery in the stands held their breath. Twice before, the unforgiving hill had snuffed out the fire in the flaming grey’s nostrils within the space of five strides. The memory evaporated in an instant.

One Man’s Queen Mother Champion Chase victory at the 1998 Cheltenham Festival was a triumph of faith for his trainer Gordon Richards. Press Room detractors had declared the flying grey a quitter–the imperious galloper and effortless jumper had twice tamely surrendered when put to the Gold Cup test. It followed that the decision to drop him back to two miles was the desperate act of a handler who was letting sentimentality cloud his judgement.

But Richards could not denounce his “little bouncing ball”–the horse to which he had wed his spirit during a long struggle with cancer–and his loyalty was rewarded by one of the most emotional victories in the Festival’s history. Within six months both One Man and Gordon Richards were dead.

Journalist John Budden knew The Boss for over 30 years, working closely with him during his final months to chronicle a life of extraordinary sporting achievement. Belligerent, emotional, outspoken, Richards rose from the ashes of a riding career terminated by a broken back, to be the Northern star of National Hunt racing, twice taking the Aintree Grand National back to Northumberland. Budden’s affectionate biography celebrates a man who himself celebrated the spirit and courage of his horses.
Alex Hankin

The sudden death of Gordon W. Richards in late September 1998 brought a premature end to a legendary training career which had seen him rise from obscurity to national fame as master of his profession.

Consigned to racing’s scrap-heap with a broken back at the age of 29, he scraped a living as a livery stable proprietor and horse-dealer in a remote part of Northumberland until, five years later, he `discovered’ Playlord and a new dawn broke.

Rugged, demanding, often outspoken, sometimes ruthless but never lacking in humour, Gordon made relentless progress through the training ranks. `The Boss’, as he was widely known, liked to run his stable his own way. Horses, not humans, headed the pecking order, as many famous riders and owners discovered to their cost. Few escaped unscathed, but in over 30 years he employed only six stable jockeys, and two of these, Ron Barry and Jonjo O’Neill, gained championship honours.

The Boss charts the successes of the man who twice saddled more than a hundred winners in a single season and who scooped the pool in the Aintree Grand National on two occasions. This enthralling biography, written with full co-operation of Richards himself, provides a compelling insight into the forces that drove him to become one of the most respected trainers in the world.