Horse Sense

John Raymond Godley (1920-2006), Lord Kilbracken, was a respected writer and journalist, but he’s remembered mostly for a peculiar talent: He dreamed the winners of horse races.

  • While an undergraduate at Oxford in 1946, he dreamed he was reading racing results in a newspaper. Two of the winners were Bindal and Juladin, horses he knew from his waking life. In the morning he discovered that both would be running that afternoon. He bet on both, and both won.
  • A month later, vacationing in Ireland, he awoke with the name Tubermore in his mind. He called the local postmistress the following day, and she told him that a Tuberose was running that day. He won, at odds of 100 to 6.
  • In July he dreamed that a bookie’s clerk told him a horse named Monumentor had won a race. He found in the morning that a Mentores would be running that day. He bet and won.
  • In June 1947 he dreamed he was watching one race in which he recognized jockey Edgar Britt, then watched a second race won by a horse called The Bogie. He woke to find that Britt was riding that day, and that a horse called The Brogue would be running in the race that followed. This time he sealed his picks in a time-stamped envelope in the presence of witnesses. Both horses won.
  • In 1949 he dreamed he read the name Timocrat in the Mirror‘s racing sheet. He discovered that Timocrat was running the next day; he bet and won.

And so on. He couldn’t summon the dreams, of course, and the horses he picked didn’t invariably win. But even nine years later a dream led him to the winner of the Grand National. “I can offer no explanation, rational or irrational,” he wrote in a memoir. “Make your own deductions, but accept my facts as true.”