The Inside Rail

Contributions from TIHR co-founder, editor and writer Sean Clancy.

The Whip

Whips. We have come to the crossroads on whips. Sure, we should have been here long ago, but, alas, here we are now. Sadly and strangely, whips (and Lasix but that’s for another day) have been thrown in the mix with injuries and fatalities at Santa Anita. The California racetrack has a problem, that’s obvious. Why that has become a whip or Lasix issue is unfathomable. Breakdowns at Santa Anita have nothing to do with whips or Lasix.

In Search of the One

Grand National morning. Wake up and for a moment, just a moment, it’s a regular day. Then it hits you fast, the realization, the expectation, the impending, the dread and delight of the impending. It’s the biggest race of your life, the biggest day of your life. See, riding is your life. Sure, you have friends and family, lovers and haters, but, for you, it’s a singular quest. You are a jockey.

Long Lost Tracks

Miles and I went to a birthday party Saturday. Atomic Trampoline. In Leesburg. I'm not sure what they call it, perhaps, a Contrived Community...there are houses and houses, shops and shops, sprawl and sprawl. Interesting in a way, certainly convenient, but a long way from the Leesburg I remember. Miles enjoyed the party, the pizza was decent, ice cream organic and the cleanup was minimal. 

Welcome to England

The wind whips. The tea is strong. Wolverhampton replays on the telly. A jumper, an all-weather specialist and a couple of spring turf hopes canter past the window. A retired greyhound begs for a sausage. The butter sits on the counter. The bread, the milk, too. The door sways in the wind. The Aga warms the room. Racing Posts, a tweed jacket, Cheltenham hats wait in boxes on the table.

Real-life Superhero

“Where are you?”

“I don’t actually know.”


The gym is packed. Fourteen machines, most in use, grind and groan like old cars on cold mornings. Old men, mostly, grind and groan with the machines. Knee braces and wrist bands, sore hips and new hips, cotton Polo shirts and 90’s Reebok sneakers, belly fat and gray heads.

Hitchcock Woods

After a conference call, I find the Hitchcock Woods and run. Run it out. Run off the frustration. Run off the fear. Run off the stress.

Put it on the List

Racing on Thursday 7 February cancelled due to equine influenza cases.


It's happened the past few weekends, I have actually thought to myself, "Should be time for the Sunday Long Read." And in minutes, sometimes seconds, the Sunday Long Read comes across my email.

Dogs, Round Bales and Papa Jim's

In a day, I might read anything from a chapter of Churchill at the Gallop by Brough Scott to a feature in the Washington Post (Why did you do This?) to the overnight at Tampa Bay Downs in search of an extra race for a certain horse. Some days, the overnights are the best reading.