Racing: 'Scu' a safe bet just lacking in bite

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The Independent Online
PETER SCUDAMORE'S record- breaking and bone-breaking career deserves to be commemorated by a book worthy of its subject and Scu, The Autobiography of a Champion (Headline, pounds 17.99), qualifies on several counts, writes John Cobb.

Its downfall, though, is that one of the qualities that made Scudamore such a likeable champion, his gentlemanliness, means there is rather too much tact in dealing with contentious subjects.

'You've gone,' Martin Pipe told him one disappointing day at the races. To which Scudamore's response is saintly: 'I knew how hard he worked and sometimes things got to him.'

There is rather more bite to Jamie Reid's A Licence to Print Money (Mainstream, pounds 8.99), a tour through the world of gambling that relishes the seaminess of it all. Shrewd punters who waited a year for this, the paperback version of Reid's book, can congratulate themselves on getting 'the value' as it is just as attractive as the original and is around half the price.

Reid is one of few contemporary writers whose work has been deemed worthy of inclusion in Runners & Riders (Methuen, pounds 16.99), an anthology of writing on racing edited by Sean Magee. With Dickens, Steinbeck, Hemingway and W B Yeats also on the bill, it presents some line-up and its hardback price is reasonable as it should have a longer shelf life than most similarly priced volumes.