About the Author

Tony Byles was born and bred in West Drayton in the family home, which his grandfather had built on the old West Drayton racecourse (1865-1876). He has had a love of the horse from an early age. His first memory of the Derby was in 1946, when his father won fifty pounds on Airborne. He became fascinated with the history of the thoroughbred racehorse, even before he caught the racing bug proper in the early fifties, which, for him, he considers to be the beginning of a golden age of racing. His favourite racecourse is Newmarket, where he has been a member for a number of years. He now lives in Madeley, near Ironbridge, in Shropshire.

Background to the search for Running Rein

Anyone involved in racing, and who has an interest in the past, will be aware of the infamous Running Rein Derby: it is referred to in many historical books on the Turf.  I first came across the story in my early teens, on one of my visits to my local library.

Like many of the famous contests and the great winners, it held a deep fascination for me.

It was over twenty years later that I came across Running Rein again: this was in Michael Seth-Smith's book on Lord George Bentinck.  There was certainly a lot more detail, but overall it was still fairly vague.

How I came to write this book is something of a fascinating story in itself.  My daughter, Georgina, who without any influence from me, had developed her own love of the horse; and following her graduation had taken a job in the marketing department at Newmarket Racecourse.  She was fortunate enough to stumble across some case notes relating to the famous Trial, in an outhouse at Westfield House.  It was fortunate she knew who Running Rein was, otherwise these notes would possibly have been lost forever and the story may never have been written.

The notes made fascinating reading, and gave me a launching pad to see what else could be discovered about the most amazing story of the Turf.

Over the next eight years I travelled over the length of the country: to Newmarket; to the villages of Denton and Norton in north Yorkshire; to Sywell, in Northamptonshire, where the Gladiator colt was initially kept; to the Capital and to Epsom; even to Poland in an attempt to discover something of Zanoni, the final name and resting place of the imposter, who had impersonated the genuine Running Rein.