Legendary Trainer and his Legacy,
Compiled and written by Jeremy Barber.
Published by Thumbnail Media.
Available from Jeremy Barber, Abbots Litten, Long Street, Sherborne. DT9 3BU.
RRP £30.00.plus p&p.
While Jeremy Barber has lived in Sherborne for the past ten years his connection with the town dates back to the early 1950’s when he was a pupil at Sherborne School.
The book is based on a hitherto, unrecorded, but important Archive of around 400 letters and documents to and from John Porter, his owners, friends and family. The Archive spans over fifty years of the life of the foremost trainer of the day. Porter having retired from training in 1903, proceeded to set up the Newbury Racecourse Company, purchasing the land, designing and building what we know today as Newbury Racecourse. It remains one of the principal dual grass tracks in the country for both Flat and National Hunt racing.
Many of the letters are reproduced in the book. Correspondents include many peers and prominent sportsmen, including the Dukes of Richmond, Portland, Wellington and Westminster; Baron von Hirsch, Lord Derby, Lord Rosebery, Lord Russell, Lord Roberts, Sir Henry Keppel, The Duke of Teck and others. Many are from royal residences. Buckingham Palace, Marlborough House, Sandringham and Frogmore Cottage.
The letters were a gift to the author from his wife who purchased them from a second hand book dealer in Sherborne some years ago. With her agreement they will be donated to the National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket.
The book is in four sections:
A brief biography of John Porter from birth to his retirement as a trainer in 1903.
His owners and friends with biographies and many letters.
Newbury Racecourse, including an article by Porter and letters from Patrons of early meetings.
The Porter Family accompanied by letters.
The book is self published and net proceeds from its sale are being donated to The Injured Jockeys Fund.