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The Greyhound and the Hare: A history of the breed and the sport

By Charles Blanning


With a foreword by Sir Mark Prescott BT

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£60.00

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On 1st March 1871, in the grand entrance hall of Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria received the greyhound, Master M’Grath, three times winner of the Waterloo Cup, the Blue Riband of the sport of coursing. On 18th November 2004, again at Windsor Castle, her great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth II, signed into law an Act of Parliament which would “prohibit hare coursing”.

In 134 years coursing, once recognised by the monarch as one of her country’s most popular national sports, came to be vilified as the most obnoxious of “cruel sports” and even to be criminalised.

In “The Greyhound & the Hare” Charles Blanning examines the biography of the greyhound, a breed which for two millennia has proved an object of passionate devotion. Originally the “Celtic hound” of Roman Gaul, in the Dark and Middle Ages the greyhound became the hunting companion of princes. From the sixteenth century it became a medium for aristocratic gambling. In Victorian times greyhounds became sporting celebrities in their own right in the field sport of choice for a new and enriched middle-class. In the twentieth century the introduction of greyhound racing brought the breed into the cities in a floodlit spectacle patronised by hundreds of thousands of working-class gamblers.

Charles Blanning has crafted a masterly chronicle which will fascinate all those who are interested in the history of sport. Rich in anecdote and illustration, this book provides a colourful and intriguing narrative of the greyhounds themselves, like Master M’Grath and Mick The Miller, as well as their high-rolling owners, from the zany Earl of Orford to the self-made millionaire John North, the “Nitrate King”.

 

 On 1st March 1871, in the grand entrance hall of Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria received the greyhound, Master M’Grath, three times winner of the Waterloo Cup, the Blue Riband of the sport of coursing. On 18th November 2004, again at Windsor Castle, her great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth II, signed into law an Act of Parliament which would “prohibit hare coursing”.

In 134 years coursing, once recognised by the monarch as one of her country’s most popular national sports, came to be vilified as the most obnoxious of “cruel sports” and even to be criminalised.

In “The Greyhound & the Hare” Charles Blanning examines the biography of the greyhound, a breed which for two millennia has proved an object of passionate devotion. Originally the “Celtic hound” of Roman Gaul, in the Dark and Middle Ages the greyhound became the hunting companion of princes. From the sixteenth century it became a medium for aristocratic gambling. In Victorian times greyhounds became sporting celebrities in their own right in the field sport of choice for a new and enriched middle-class. In the twentieth century the introduction of greyhound racing brought the breed into the cities in a floodlit spectacle patronised by hundreds of thousands of working-class gamblers.

Charles Blanning has crafted a masterly chronicle which will fascinate all those who are interested in the history of sport. Rich in anecdote and illustration, this book provides a colourful and intriguing narrative of the greyhounds themselves, like Master M’Grath and Mick The Miller, as well as their high-rolling owners, from the zany Earl of Orford to the self-made millionaire John North, the “Nitrate King”.

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