On returning from a war-time evacuation in Llandrindod Wells to his home in Woking, the Sunday before the 1945 Derby, Michael, aged nine, was plunged into a family reunion where the sole topic of conversation was the forthcoming Derby. From that day, which Michael refers to as his ‘Annunciation’, he took to racing and betting, “like a duck to water.”
At the age of 11, he set himself up as the unofficial school bookmaker and carried his passion through National Service, the Inland Revenue and a number of maths based positions in publishing and industry.
Then, in 1986, he landed the job of Accountant for the new daily newspaper, Racing Post, thereafter, writing many books on breeding and racing, including the history of The Derby Stakes, for which he was appointed the Official Derby Historian. Greyhound racing has also been a lifelong interest for Michael, owning many successful top class Open racers and Category One finalists.
In his spare time, he also became the Treasurer and Commercial Director of Woking Football Club, taking his lurcher, Sam, to all the home games.
Michael has given many TV interviews for Sky Sports News and most recently, for ITV, BBC London, CNN and Racing UK. He also gave race commentary and background to the Coronation Derby in the film, The Queen in 3D. As the Official Derby Historian, he now gives Course walks, and lectures to symposiums, colleges, literary societies and racing clubs. Married to Pat and with four grown up children, The Derby Stakes – 1780-2016 – is his 14th book.
Michael’s Derby Stakes book interview with Racing UK.