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Century of Champions - 100 Great Australian and New Zealand horses

Century of Champions

100 Great Australian and New Zealand horses, by Mark Taylor; HarperCollins, RRP $39.95. 211pp.

Books documenting great racing performers are fairly commonplace, but this new volume does offer something different. It's written in such a way that someone not into horses or racing could find it quite interesting and entertaining, while the aficionado will also be entertained by the trip down memory lane.

Taking horses labelled as "champions" from 1901 to 2000 means that some notable performers, from 1900 and before, and 2001 onward, are not included. Sunline is the last horse featured.

The names and records of some of the chosen horses may have faded from memory, and Century of Champions will serve as a refresher for those interested in racing and breeding history.

There's a picture of each horse featured, some words on their history and achievements, and a fact file. The bite-sized stories are an easy read, and don't bore the reader with excessive facts and figures. Instead a more chatty format is followed, with the more interesting details and trivia included.

As the author points out, one person's champion might not be another's, and in his collection Taylor has chosen horses who were top of their era. So despite being hugely popular in 1983, the mighty Kiwi misses out. And only grandget of Sir Tristram make the grade -- no sons or daughters feature here.

The only thing I'd say is that it would have been nice to see more colour pictures -- only the last 13 horses are not black and white.



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