Dick Francis. Horse Racing Author and Jockey to the late Queen Mother. Horseman and Welsh Gentleman
Horses for Courses. The exciting horsey stories by Dick Francis.
Dick Francis, Author Jockey and Celebrity
One of my favorite authors died today, St Valentine's Day 2010 at the age of 89. I picked up one of his books at the airport bookshop to read on my flight. I remember wondering how he was doing as I had been reading his thrillers for so many years, most of my life in fact, two weeks later I was saddened to hear of his death.
Dick Francis was born in Tenby in South Wales, the son of a horse dealer and trainer. He spent some years in the RAF as a fighter pilot, but on retiring from that he became a jockey. He eventually became the Jockey for the Queen Mother, the mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth currently on the throne. That combo was best known for the sad occurrence during the 1956 Grand National when his mount, Devon Loch stumbled and collapsed only 25 yards from the winning post. Devon Loch recovered but poor old Dick Francis never won the prestigious Grand National which is one of the most testing races over jumps. He was a close friend of the Queen Mother and was a prominent mourner at her funeral. Queen Elizabeth made him an OBE, Order of the British Empire.
His first book was his autobiography, "The Sport of Queens" this lead to him becoming the racing correspondent for a major British newspaper, the "Sunday Express"
He became a thriller writer and published a book a year, his first being "Dead Cert" published in1962. He published a book every year for the next 38 years. In later years writing with his two sons, Felix and Merrick. His books generally revolved around the world of horses especially racing. He wrote 42 books in total. I loved reading about his insight into the racing, horse world.
Dick Francis retired to the British Cayman Islands and was buried there. A Memorial service was held in London attended by Racing Celebrities. Dick Francis brought so much pleasure to so many people. His knowledge of horses and the racing scene was second to none. Just reading his books gave you an insight into the sometimes devious world of racing, i loved the tales of intrigue woven around the horse scene. I read them all, proud that he was a Welshman. He will be sorely missed. RIP.
Watch the exciting video to see the sad collapse of the great horse Devon Loch.