Most of the racegoers at Royal Ascot this week will neither know nor care that it was Queen Anne who initiated horseracing there back in 1711. Fewer still will be aware that the first official race run under written rules was the Town Plate at Newmarket in 1664 (Anne's forebear Charles II won it in 1671 and 1674). Newmarket remains the HQ of English racing, and these facts come from John Carter's affectionate, authoritative look at a year in the town's life through the eyes of 12 individuals. Carter deftly interlinks the 2007 fortunes of a cast including jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer Jeremy Noseda but also less heralded but equally vital characters intimately connected with the town's 3,000 thoroughbreds in training. His words are complemented by the vibrant photographs of one of his subjects, Trevor Jones, and while some of the territory covered will be familiar to the expert, the result is a winner of the highest class.
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