The Books

Rough Habit: An unlikely champion

Hardie Grant Books, RRP: $24.99

Scorned for his daggy looks, the Kiwi racehorse Rough Habit repeatedly proved sceptics wrong on both sides of the Tasman. He also vindicated Isabell Roddick, who was dismissed by purists as a hobby breeder. Featuring Roddick and a rich cast of jockeys, trainers, owners and followers, this is the tale of a horse that became a folk hero on Australian racecourses and then a NZ tourist attraction in retirement.

This is one for the true believers.

(Qld racing doyen, Bart Sinclair)


Tulloch: the extraordinary life and times of a true champion

Slattery Media Group, 2017

Tulloch (1954-1969) is one of the few Australasian racehorses to deserve comparison with Phar Lap. This is the story of the champion three-year-old who fell desperately ill, disappeared for two years, then returned from the dead to become a champion again. It’s also a history of his era and the biography of the human Tulloch adored – the larrikin dancer, talent-show whistler and apprentice jockey Lem Bann.

  • “Linnett does a superb job.”  (Geoff Armstrong, Stoke Hill Press)
  • Ranked in top five Australian sports books of 2017
  • Whittaker Award winner 2018

Game For Anything: the Tommy Lahiff story

Allen & Unwin, 1999

A biography of Tommy Lahiff (1910-1996), the working-class battler whose feisty career included Aussie Rules and cricket with the greats and long stints as coach and mentor before winning a cult following as a commentator on Melbourne radio.

Priceless, heart-warming.

(Barry Dickins, Sunday Age)


Sequences From the Seventies

Neptune Press, 1981

Three intriguing novellas set in city and country Australia during the era of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam’s tumultuous rise and fall.

“Linnett writes both ironically and compassionately, sharply and amusingly.”

(John Hanrahan, Australian Book Review)

“Ken Linnett is a new writer to watch.”

(Marion Halligan, Canberra Times)