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Bawdy romp tells the tale of the first great racehorse and his flamboyant owner; BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR What our writers had to say about the pick of the publications from earlier in the year.

Eclipse By Nicholas Clee pounds 25, published by Bantam Press booksattransworld.co.uk THE golden thread whereby hangs the tale of Eclipse runs through the vast tapestry of racing like an artery, pulsing with life, beating steadily down the ages with all the resonance of a horse at the gallop.

Eclipse was the first truly great racehorse, and his influence has saturated the breed to such a degree that 95 per cent of horses racing today trace back to the chestnut with a white blaze and one white stocking.

The one thing most people know of Eclipse is the bold statement made on his behalf by his soon to be owner, the gambler Dennis O'Kelly, whose "Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere" has entered the language as a byword for total dominance.

In this book, Nicholas Clee has interwoven the story of Eclipse with that of his owner and his fortunes, resulting in a book that is more social commentary than dry racing archive, more of a ripping yarn, a bawdy romp. Those whose interest in horses is negligible will find plenty to enthral them; those for whom Eclipse is the focal point will likewise rejoice. Steve Dennis
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 8, 2009
Words:198
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