A TRIBUTE book starring horses connected with the legendary horse trainer and jockey Josh Gifford has been published.
Author Raffaele Faugno was born and raised in Worthing, and went to live in America in 1990.
Now, he has published a book – Josh Gifford and the Tale of the Secret Rite.
The 45-year-old said his book is “unique and completely different from most”, as it features Josh Gifford’s former horses as the stars, by using their names to make up the bulk of the narrative.
Raffaele said: “The former Josh Gifford horses names that are used throughout the book (over 230 of them), make up the bulk of the dialogue, they actually tell the story.
“Alexandra Palace is a name of a horse, in the book he’s depicted as an actual palace in the desert.
“All the horses throughout the book are italicised for the reader to see when a horse is used in the dialogue.”
Raffaele worked for Mr Gifford in the 1980s, and described him as a mentor and a friend. He left for America in 1990, but visited the “Guv’nor” again in 2006.
He said: “He had retired from training in 2003 and had handed over the reins to his son Nick.
“Nick was doing evening rounds at the stable with his father. They invited me to tag along with them.
“As we went into every horse stall, I would recall what horse had been stabled there from when I was at the yard 20 years prior.
“I will never forget after we finished looking at the 50 or so horses, Mr Gifford turned to me and said ‘Raff, you just took me down memory lane’. I never forgot those words.”
Raffaele said this trip down memory lane was the inspiration behind the book, as he realised what an “assortment of diverse and colourful” names the horses had. He added: “I wanted to make it a science fiction novel, and kid friendly with no curse words.
“So, low and behold, after five months to the day that Mr Gifford passed away, writing 16 hours a day, I wrote a book called Josh Gifford and the Tale of the Secret Rite.
“It was one of the greatest challenges I have ever endured, but one I will never forget.
“Just as I took Mr Gifford down memory lane back in 2006, I hope many others will get joy from this novel.”
Josh Gifford, who was best known for training Aldaniti to a Grand National win in 1981, died aged 70 after a heart attack earlier this year. As well as gaining international recognition in the world of horseracing, Josh was a well-known figure in Findon where his son, Nick, still runs Downs Stables, in Stable Lane.
Raffaele has created a Facebook page for the book, www.facebook.com/JoshGiffordNovel – which he said is there for people to read the synopsis, foreword, preface, numerous chapter samples, and to look at videos and photos on the page.