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Dick Francis dies aged 89

Richard Stanley Francis was born on 31st October in 1920 in Pembrokeshire. He was born into a racing family and started riding himself at a very early age. He left school at the age of 15 without any qualifications. During the second world war he became a RAF pilot. Dick Francis got his professional jockey’s licence in 1948 and worked for Peter Cazalet. Mr Cazalet trained several of the Queen Mother’s horses and so was held very highly in the equestrian world. Dick Francis became champion jockey in 1953-1954. He had a 12 year racing career and in total he rode 345 winners. Dick was best known for riding the Queen Mother’s horse in the 1956 Grand National. The horse was on the home straight but mysteriously collapsed just yards from the finishing line. It is still unknown to this day what happened, the horse could have spooked at the crowd or simply just slipped. Dick Francis retired from his racing career after a severe fall in 1957 and went on to become a racing journalist for the Sunday Express until 1973. Dick Francis went on to be an excellent crime novelist. He wrote 42 crime thrillers which were all set in the world of racing. Dick Francis sold 60 million books and won several crime writing awards.

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Source: www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/294928.html, 15th February 2010

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