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The Incredible Story of John Goldsmith: Racehorse Trainer, Gambler and Wartime Secret Agent


304 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $32.95 (US $32.95) (CA $39.95)

Publication Date: December 2015

ISBN 9781910498064

Rights: US & CA

Racing Post Books (Dec 2015)

Price: $32.95


The thrilling true story of racehorse trainer, gambler, and SOE agent John Goldsmith, one of the great unsung heroes of World War II

An English racehorse trainer and horse dealer's son, John Goldsmith was born and brought up in Paris and spoke fluent French. In 1942 he was recruited in to the legendary Special Operations Executive, or SOE, and dropped three times behind enemy lines. On each of these missions he drew on the reserves of nerve and guile that he had acquired in the horse racing world. In 1943 he organized the escape of a French air force general across the Pyrenees but a few months later he was caught by the Gestapo in Paris only to engineer his own getaway from a locked third floor hotel room. By the end of the war he had been awarded the DSO, MC, Croix de Guerre and Legion d'Honneur. Resuming his peacetime occupation in 1946 Goldsmith was sent numerous French racehorses to train. Goldsmith found uncanny similarities between the secret agent's milieu and the black market world of Britain's post war racetracks and, in partnership with a high stakes Mayfair bookie, he orchestrated some of the most audacious betting coups in racing history.


"Doped superbly evokes a lost world of seedy glamour when spivs, racketeers and glamour pusses rubbed shoulders with aristocratic high-rollers. It would make a fantastic film." —The Independent

"Doped is a crackling, eye-opening read." —David Ashforth, Racing Post 

"Impeccably-researched and furiously-paced . . . a breathless story of greed and corruption that shocked the nation." —Sport magazine

"A marvellous evocation of the period with late night stable visits by dopers, Soho gangsters, milk bars and Ford Zephyrs." —The Sunday Times 

Author Biography

Jamie Reid is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction books Doped (Winner of the 2013 William Hill Sports Book Award), A Licence To Print Money (short listed for the 1992 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award), Days Like These: The Education of a Racing Lover and Emperors Of The Turf as well as the novels Easy Money and Home On The Range. A lifelong racing enthusiast he is also a journalist and regular columnist for the Financial Times. He has also written for the Guardian, The Independent On Sunday, Harpers & Queen, the New Statesman, Money Observer and Private Eye.