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Forget Makybe Diva, Bart Cummings, Damien Oliver or even Francesca Cumani; in 2001 and 2002, Northerly was racing’s pin-up boy and the No. 1 subject for racing scribes. At that time, the West Australian-trained gelding established himself as the finest middle distance thoroughbred horse in the country, notching nine Group 1 wins, including back-to-back Cox Plates and the Caulfield Cup. In Northerly: the Unlikely Champion, author Bob Cain captures one of the most remarkable stories in racing history. The fact that Northerly even ran a race, let alone won almost $10 million in stake money, is incredible in itself given the foal born to Serheed and North Bell in 1996 entered this world without a pulse. The horse, of course, survived, proving he could not be beaten. It was a trait that became so familiar in the ensuing years as, thanks to the diligent handling of trainer Fred Kersley, Northerly emerged as a champion.
Bob Cain was a respected Melbourne journalist, covering both thoroughbred and harness racing. The son of a jockey, he began his career on the racing staff of Truth (Melbourne) before being appointed the editor of the three-code weekly Tabform. Cain was also a long-time editor of Trotting Weekly and wrote a number of books on harness racing, including Harness A Miracle, the story of the Miracle Mile, and The Cup That Grew, an historical look at the Kilmore Cup. Cain passed away in April 2005, shortly before his book on Northerly was published.