The incomparable range of sports books produced by Pitch Publishing over the past few years has ensured theyÕve secured a place as one of the UKÕs leading publishers of sporting material.
From the unashamedly nostalgic Got, Not Got and the thought-provoking If Only: An Alternative History of the Beautiful Game, to Andrew MurtaghÕs superbly-written Gentleman and a Player, Pitch Publishing are always likely to come up with something different. Take a look at their current range:
Flat Horses of 2005 Ed: Graham Dench
Release date: 08th March, 2006
Publisher: Highdown Publishing
Our Price: £26.40
You Save: £13.6 (34%)
Flat Horses of 2005
Edited by Graham Dench & Nick Pulford
4sportsbooks.co.uk price: £26.40, saving £13.60 on rrp
There are twelve months in all the year,
As I hear many men say,
But the merriest month in all the year
Is the merry month of May.
Okay, so not many punters continue to whistle this happy little ditty as they place their online bets nowadays, but one fancies that prior to Newmarket's Guineas meeting next month (6-7 May), there will still be quite a few who will hum the words to themselves as they prepare for a pair of fantastic races over the famous Rowley Mile.
Newmarket is rightly regarded as the home of British racing. Here, more than 2,500 racehorses, some 70 licensed trainers and over 60 stud farms operate at the heart of British racing. It was at Newmarket that Britain's first race was run under written rules more than three centuries ago and where next month the first Classics of 2006, the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas will signify that the flat season has arrived in earnest.
The setting is idyllic, pedigree of the highest order, but just where can punters gain a valuable insight into flat racing's most intimate facts?
The answer lies in Flat Horses of 2005, a mammoth work containing details of every horse that raced on the flat in Britain last year. In addition, this veritable encyclopaedia provides comprehensive information relating to what the book's pedigree assessors rate as the country's top 100 horses, from Ace, a four-year-old Irish colt to Zenno Rob Roy, a five-year-old Japanese horse.
"In short," comments editor Graham Dench, "it's the ultimate guide." He's right. It is the most comprehensive book on racing I have ever read and if you're serious about making a few quid from the sport of kings, it is a must-have accompaniment to the occasionally limited, or else expensive, information available on the internet.
The publishers deserve credit for not skimping when it comes to the supply of both breeding details and informed comment. The section on leading horses alone comprises 440 pages, literally packed with information from a team of respected racing journalists including Brough Scott, Steve Dennis and James Willoughby. If this doesn't help you select a winner, it's difficult to know what will. Which brings me onto the 2,000 Guineas.
In addition to the wealth of data (Flat Horses runs to nearly 850 pages), there is also a classification section in which two-year-olds and upwards are rated. It so happens that the most highly-rated four colts are scheduled to face each other in the 2,000 Guineas over Newmarket's Rowley Mile next month, providing a perfect opportunity to test the accuracy of the book's assessments.
The race's clear favourite and highest-rated horse is George Washington, but having familiarised myself with Guineas' contenders courtesy of Flat Horses, it is Sir Percy, a winner on each of his four outings last year, who gets my vote, although I also expect Horatio Nelson to feature in the closing stages.
This is not a book one expects to read from cover to cover, but when preparing for any flat race, it will become an invaluable resource. Accordingly, racing enthusiasts could expect to dip into its fascinating pages throughout the forthcoming season and, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, could expect the book to pay for itself within a very short period of time, possibly making May the merriest month of allÖ
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