The twin offspring of a thoroughbred horse–one a celebrated colt, the other an underestimated filly–make their mark on racing history.
After an accident on a road in Ireland, a mare named Bright Dawn gives birth to two horses who both miraculously survive. They’re taken in and cared for by the McGee family, who keep the filly, Most Innocent, when her brother, King Stephen, is shipped back to the U.S., where he has been promised to professional breeders. In the U.S., King Stephen is trained by the unrelenting Archie Miller, whose no-nonsense style is tempered by his gentler assistant, Ronald. King Stephen becomes a fast horse who tears up tracks around the country. Meanwhile, Most Innocent slowly blossoms in Ireland, looked after by the youngest McGee, Thresis, and coaxed along by trainer Eamonn Daly. It soon becomes clear that Most Innocent is also a winner on par with her brother, a horse that may even compete with him in America. Throughout, the narrative is kinetic and engaging, marred only by the author’s predilection for introducing quirky characters who strain believability–John Quinn, for example, who, due to a terrible past, only talks to horses, or the Romanian horse whisperer assigned to Most Innocent, who is little more than a caricature of the wise foreigner with mysterious ways.
A few bumps in the road, but overall, an engaging tale with plenty of palpable enthusiasm.