Dodgy dealings, bent trainers and unscrupulous bookmakers: journalist Michael Clower launches debut novel

Horse Racing Michael Clower journalist novel Riding for a Fall
Michael Clower: 53-year career as racing journalist taking in Sporting Life, Racing Post – and South Africa. Photo supplied

By Nicholas Godfrey

South Africa: Officially launched this week is ‘Riding For A Fall’, the first novel by former leading racing journalist Michael Clower, a veteran of both the Sporting Life and Racing Post.

Clower allegedly put away his notepad after 53 years as a scribe in December 2020, the last decade and a half of which have been spent in South Africa.

However, to call this a ‘retirement’ would not be entirely accurate as he put the finishing touches on his first work of fiction, a racing-based thriller featuring the exploits of Lambourn-based journalist/amateur jockey Rod Hutchinson. Expect a fast-moving plot as our hero discovers dodgy dealings, bent trainers and unscrupulous bookmakers.

“It has long been an ambition to write a novel,” said Clower, 77, who lives on the Cape South coast. “I started the book during the initial Covid lockdown in March/April last year, when nobody was allowed to leave their houses, and finished it about two months ago.

“I’m happy with the outcome. I think I’ve done as good a book as I can do and I found writing it compensated to a great extent for the interest and excitement that I was missing from not being on the racecourse!”

A hugely respected and popular figure in South African racing since he emigrated in 2006, Clower won the Equus Print Award for his work in 2015. After abandoning a career in accountancy, he was Irish correspondent for Pacemaker magazine and the Sporting Life while also contributing to the Sunday Times before joining the Racing Post’s Irish team when the Sporting Life was shut down.

He is also the author of four books, biographies of jockeys Mick Kinane and Charlie Swan and the great hurdler Istabraq, plus ‘KIngs of the Turf’, an account of the 12 greatest Irish trainers. He also reports on South African racing for the Irish Field.

He also rode three winners as an amateur in Kenya when he was stationed there in the late 1960s.

• ‘Riding For A Fall’, published by Christel Foord Publishing (South Africa), is available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback format
• More South African news at the Turf Talk website

TW3: On the record: Irad Ortiz, Colin Keane, Charlie Appleby and more …

TW3: News flashes: Starman retired, Craig Williams off Zaaki, Oisin Murphy fails breath test and more …

‘I was given the chance and I did it’ – Rene Piechulek relives his Arc triumph on Torquator Tasso

Frankie Dettori needs Champions Day waiver after collecting six days in French whip bans

Climate change: Dubai Carnival beckons for Scandinavian champion Square De Luynes

World top 20 active racehorses | World top jockeys and trainers

Visit the Horse Racing Planet home page for more great racing stuff