Capsule review of ‘The Best Australian Racing Stories’ by Jim Haynes [ed] (2010)

The sport of kings, and a refuge for dreamers and desperadoes – few passions grip this nation like horse racing. This collection includes iconic poems from the likes of C.J Dennis and Banjo Patterson, loosely-spun yarns on champions like Sunline, Phar Lap and Peter Pan and pen portraits of the great trainers. Not everything here is carefully written, but the best stuff sits comfortably with the best sports writing this country has produced. Particularly masterful is Les Carlyon’s homage to the Melbourne cup, which skilfully blends beautifully lyrical descriptions of the action with bluntly humorous reportage on the assemblage of drunken human beings dotted around the track.

Originally appeared in: The Sun-Herald