White Rhino charging to Cheltenham for Little Thornton writer Malcolm Crane

​​A Fylde coast sports author dreams of writing a thrilling new chapter in his life story as the co-owner of a racehorse which triumphs at this week’s Cheltenham Festival.
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Malcolm Crane from Little Thornton is a member of the syndicate which owns White Rhino, entered in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap on Thursday.

Though best known for his books about rugby union (The Rugby Clubs of England) and golf (The Story of Ladies' Golf and A Century of Knott End Golf), Malcolm is a lifelong racing enthusiast, whose passion has reached new heights with White Rhino's success.

Malcolm Crane with White Rhino ahead of the Cheltenham FestivalMalcolm Crane with White Rhino ahead of the Cheltenham Festival
Malcolm Crane with White Rhino ahead of the Cheltenham Festival
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Trained in Cheshire by Oliver Greenall, the eight-year-old has won five of his 11 races over hurdles (with two seconds and a third), rising 55lbs in the handicaps, and was a winner at Cheltenham last Christmas.

Malcolm isn’t new to such syndicates, having previously had a stake in Fylde Flyer alongside The Gazette's former racing guru Steve Simpson.

But Malcolm believes White Rhino is something special and told The Weekly News: “White Rhino had serious health issues as a foal and was a slow starter.

“He only really started to realise his potential when he was around six. He's a very big horse – 17 hands – and to get five wins during 2023 was a great achievement.

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“It's all down to Oliver, who is one of the fastest-rising young trainers and had over 60 winners last year. His methods are so advanced and we get online updates every day.”

Malpas-based Greenall said of White Rhino's prospects: “He's all good and should improve for his last run at Huntingdon.

"He needs some horses to drop out but we're hopeful he'll be in the Pertemps.

“Malcolm is a character, who is very supportive of the yard and very enthusiastic.

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“Ninety per cent of our horses are owned by syndicates, so they are very important to the industry.”

It sounds like there may be another book in it for Malcolm, who contributed to Rugby World magazine for 30 years.

“The rugby book took 25 years to write and involved 3,000 interviews at clubs around the country, which I did while running my own business,” he explains.

“The Knott End book was another labour of love because that's my golf club.”

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Malcolm admits racehorse ownership is more stressful than sports journalism but can be highly rewarding.

“I'll be a nervous wreck if White Rhino runs at the Festival but this is what makes it all worthwhile,” he said.