Monday, November 7, 2011

“One Hell Of A Ride”

“One Hell Of A Ride”

Review – Stephen Dwyer

It comes as no surprise that Paul Carberry’s autobiography sits atop of the nonfiction charts. Carberry is one of Ireland’s best loved National Hunt jockeys and at age 37, one of the most successful.

A dual Irish champion jockey, he has won both the Irish and Grand National amongst a plethora of Group One races on both sides of the channel over a two-decade long career. From the very beginning, his autobiography pulls no punches. It is an honest, engaging read, one that is teeming with brilliantly funny stories and anecdotes.

Perhaps best of all, Carberry does not even attempt to gloss over his past. He throws himself at the scrapes and near-misses and the result is all the better for it. Having ridden in excess of 1,600 winners, the book covers his exploits in and out of the saddle in gritty detail.

This is a racing book like no other. It highlights the long (sometimes suffering) relationship with trainer Noel Meade, which was described at times as being held by an “elastic band”. Carberry reveals the truth behind the legend of the bet by JP McManus about giving up drinking and how he was fifteen minutes from death following a ruptured spleen. He touches on the big wins, his family life and the close fraternity and bonds found in the weigh room.

Behind the nonchalant front, Paul Carberry is a tough character, blessed with natural talent and the ability to utilise it. No doubt he has ridden many great horses but more often that most he has made the most aboard ordinary ones.

From the adventures of swinging from the Aintree rafters to suspended prison sentences, amide the great days and the many breaks and falls, this book really will take you on one hell of a ride.

Rating: 4/5

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