By Rebecca Cassidy
This special ''behind the scenes'' description of British flat racing relies on first hand stories in Newmarket, the Suffolk city considered as the foreign headquarters of the game. Cassidy bargains an insider's examine the rituals of horseracing--including these at the racecourse and on the bloodstock auction--and indicates how racing, having a bet and the bloodstock are hooked up. Her insightful descriptions of the category constitution of Newmarket clarify how racing pros defend either the game and their established order.
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Additional resources for The Sport of Kings: Kinship, Class and Thoroughbred Breeding in Newmarket
In opposition to those trainers who seek to make a virtue out of necessity are the actions of those who detract from their discomfort in this setting by being extremely casual, thus dissociating themselves from any active attempt to fit in, as though preserving the excuse that should they try, they also could move unnoticed amongst the jockeys and lads. These trainers are scruffy, and may have one glove, a cigarette, a scruffy old hack of indeterminate age, breed and colour, stirrups of unequal lengths, and no riding skill whatsoever.
This tendency was reflected by the trace of surnames which were lost by marriage 34 The Sport of Kings ‘out of racing’, whilst marriage ‘into racing’ could introduce a brand new association. Marriage During my stay in Newmarket, an important wedding took place, between champion jockey Frankie Dettori and Catherine Allen, the daughter of ‘Twink’ Allen, a Cambridge University equine fertility expert. Their wedding in the centre of Newmarket reflected many of the features of the networks of kin and connections common amongst racing families.
Outside the public eye, my informants’ discussions of their own relationships focused upon compatibility, which is a family matter. 5 Discussions of the likely success or failure of a marriage amongst informants were conducted within a familial frame of reference. Most commonly, the parents of the couple were discussed. Where either of the couple had divorced parents this was identified as a possible threat to their future. This belief was summarised by a farmer friend, ‘like begets like’, and has been fully explored by Simon Barnes, a journalist with Horse and Hound: Serious horse people look at the breeding, for today’s aspirant or hero is merely the culmination of the mingling of bloodlines; of the collision between dam and sire.