The Inside Rail

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

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.


I always look. Just a token, wistful, wishful glance, never in the front, knowing that’s out of reach and surely you’d know, but thinking perhaps in the back, the asterisk column of The Best American Sports Writing. It’s called notable sports writing (from the previous year). This year, I escaped to the three-door privacy of the bathroom in the first-floor guestroom in my brother and sister-in-law’s house on Deerfield Lake in Shelby County, Alabama. Book in hand, a moment of peace.

Boxing Day Special – December 26

Christmas in Alabama. Mad dashes to the Summit, jazz band and a bloody Mary at Shae’s, talk of eight-points and Busch beer, baseball on the lawn and walks around the lake. Not my Christmas, but certainly Miles’.