DVD Review: The Racing Game

Acorn Media

Release date: Aug 12th, 2008
MSRP: $39.99
Two-disc set with six episodes

Stars: Mike Gwilym, Mick Ford, and Susan Wooldridge

I was surprised by The Dick Francis Thriller-The Racing Game in that it has a lot more action than I would expect from a British series. If it weren’t for the accents I’d think they were American PI tales. They open with his wife leaving him, not generally the start of a good day, because ‘You love those horses more than me’ (he’s a Steeple Chase Jockey) and from there to a fall in his next race and a horse stepping on his hand (Ouch hardly seems to cover that). He’s out of the game. A jockey could use three hands, one is not enough.

A few months later, as our hero is having a large whiskey with his breakfast, or for his breakfast, his soon to be ex father-in-law, an upper crust gentleman, showing that our boy Sid Halley married ! above his station, invites himself in and tells Sid not to be a twit all his life, there’s some dirty business at a track ol’ Dad is on the board of and he wants Sid to look into it because who knows a racetrack better than a jockey?

Thus a PI is born, but not a super cool one. He’s new and makes mistakes. Partnered with Chico, ex jockey and Judo Instructor, he gets caught photographing documents, searching offices, and one of the real Baddies decides to extract the whereabouts of the negatives by whacking his bad hand with a steel bar (see ouch parentheses above) resulting in a prosthesis that he has trouble controlling, breaking wine glasses and destroying a dozen eggs trying to make brunch , although it comes in handy (no pun intended) for self defense.

These are good, solid if somewhat formulaic stories that mystery fans should find pleasing, especially if they are race fans.

Included here is a biography of author Dick Francis, a former jockey himself.

Lee Crawford