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Horse Trader: Robert Sangster and the Rise and Fall of the Sport of Kings

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Horse Trader: Robert Sangster and the Rise and Fall of the Sport of Kings
Nick Robinson

Patrick Robinson

During the boom years of the 1980s, the massed oil wealth of the princes of Dubai and Saudi Arabia were pitted against British millionaire Robert Sangster in a battle for control of one of the world’s rarest, most precious and most unpredictable commodities: top-pedigree thoroughbread racehorses.From the Jockey Club to Kentucky, from Royal Ascot to Belmont Park, high society and new money celebrated a horsebreeders’ bonanza as hundreds of millions of dollars were waged in the ultimate racing gamble. Horsetrader is the thrilling, compulsive story of the rise and spectacular crash of the Sport of Kings.Robert Sangster was the man responsible for the boom. together with Irishmen Vincent O’Brien, the world’s finest trainer, and stallion master John Magnier, Sangster undertook the revolutionary policy of buying ‘baby’ stallions – the world’s most expensive yearlings. And the man who could win at this game, they decided, was the man who bought them all. they sent prices through the roof in bidding wars fought with breathtaking daring. Top stallions became worth three times their weight in gold – the breeding rights to them became a licence to print money.This book traces the gripping story of how Sangster and his little band of Irish horsemen ransacked the world’s most prestigious bloodstock auction, the Keeneland Sales in Kentucky. It witnesses too the terrible crash – the bankruptcies and the ruined thoroughbred farms. Written with the full co-operation of Sangster himself, Horsetrader is the inside track on an awesome bid to corner the thoroughbred market.

Copyright (#ulink_4b0af3c5-8a57-517f-bf0e-0a145777f063)


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www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/)

Published by HarperCollinsPublishers 1993

Copyright © Patrick Robinson and Nick Robinson

Patrick Robinson and Nick Robinson assert the moral right to be identified as the authors of this work

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

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HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication.

Source ISBN: 9780002551328

Ebook Edition © JUNE 2016 ISBN: 9780008193379

Version: 2016-06-20

Dedication (#ulink_5bfb38a2-55a4-550d-bc30-9d2dcac1af1f)

To Joe Thomas and Northern Dancer.

They are both gone now, but they left behind an

eternal flame in the Vale of Tipperary.

Authors’ note (#ulink_357c1c5d-62cc-59f5-9c82-e678c81c50e3)

Throughout this narrative there are frequent references to huge sums of money, some of them in US dollars and some of them in pounds sterling. We did not attempt to convert these into one single currency, which is the standard editorial practice, because the sums – such as the $10.2 million Keeneland yearling – were often such well-known figures that conversion would have been misleading and almost certainly inaccurate since exchange rates can vary by the hour. A sterling rate of 1.75, for instance, would have converted to ‘the £5,828,571.40 Keeneland yearling’. This would plainly have been absurd. The yearling was bred in the USA, the bidding was in dollars and the colt was paid for in dollars. Thus, when in America we have worked in dollars, and when in England or Ireland we have used pounds – occasionally Irish ones, when a stallion involved an Irish-trained horse going to Coolmore Stud in Tipperary.

There is also the occasional mention of the old-fashioned ‘guineas’ (one pound and one shilling). This is still used at English bloodstock auctions and, where appropriate, we have utilized this measurement. The title of the one-mile classics remains in the old racehorse currency – the 2000 Guineas and the 1000 Guineas. These do not, however, bear any relationship to the modern prize money for these races, which is nowadays over £100,000.


Cover (#u7ce164ac-feef-5d9a-86a9-5ca752b418ae)

Title Page (#u44035155-414e-5ba1-a7cc-960c4d3077b5)

Copyright (#ulink_4c78f272-2c12-5a34-84c9-26bc6b7496d5)

Dedication (#ulink_0dc4f1f5-94a5-5eee-bec7-201d0a7ca716)

Authors’ note (#ulink_5de80f16-c417-5311-ba73-89bdc13df437)

Prologue (#ulink_2df7bbfc-0a25-5abf-965d-e79c64e6fe3a)

1 Chalk Stream (#ulink_a36b5d19-9f3a-542f-8422-832e4f95ea9e)

2 A Glimpse of the Green (#ulink_cea1aa5f-5c31-570f-a80d-eec206932a2d)

3 Facing the Almighty Dollar (#ulink_26d559ab-a8e1-5cb5-895e-ee382235e37b)

4 The Raiders from Tipperary (#ulink_cbf7d807-ac0a-5633-8f0d-98e31562d4b0)

5 Empires of Kentucky (#litres_trial_promo)

6 The Minstrel’s Battle-Song (#litres_trial_promo)

7 Bonanza in the Bluegrass (#litres_trial_promo)

8 The Soft Steps of the Bedouin (#litres_trial_promo)

9 ‘Would You Sell Him for $30 Million?’ (#litres_trial_promo)

10 Three Derbys (#litres_trial_promo)

11 Tipperary v. Arabia (#litres_trial_promo)

12 The $40 Million Short-head (#litres_trial_promo)

13 Summit in the Desert (#litres_trial_promo)

14 The Crash of ’86 (#litres_trial_promo)

15 The Harder They Fall (#litres_trial_promo)

16 Running Out of Cash (#litres_trial_promo)

17 The Magic Touch of the Irish (#litres_trial_promo)

Epilogue (#litres_trial_promo)

Index (#litres_trial_promo)
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