About Henry Birtles
Henry Birtles, also known as The Racing Poet, runs his own company HBA Media, a consultancy specialising in television rights for horse racing. Getting racing to a broader audience is the name of his game, something he also aims to achieve through his poems.
Henry isn’t so much keen on the sport of racing as he is fanatical and unashamedly passionate about it. That it comes across so well in poetry is a measure of his heartfelt enthusiasm. “I would hate to insult the great poets and prefer to describe what I write as rhymes. There’s nothing that clever about them, but I think they reflect what racing fans feel about this sport and the memories they have of some of the great horses and races that we’ve been privileged to witness.”
Henry is repeatedly commissioned by jockey clubs and race horse owners. His poems are a regular feature on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day where he recites to the crowd from the famed Best Mate and Arkle statues. He has been featured on the BBC, Channel 4 and Dubai Sports Channel and has been commissioned by numerous international newspapers.
But Henry's reputation for rhyme extends beyond the turf. In 2013 his poem ‘The Harvest’, commissioned by Love British Food, was read by Damian Lewis at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, at the first Harvest Festival Service held at the Abbey since 1966. To celebrate the start of the 2013 Ashes Series, Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne asked him to write and recite a poem about the great contest at a fundraising lunch featuring many of the great names of cricket. He is also frequently asked to write poems to commemorate significant events for family and friends, as well as humorous verse (see examples in Poetry).
Henry finds time to manage the racing interests of select members of the world’s most prestigious racing syndicate Highclere Racing.
He is also a Sports Innovator– his proposal for an alternative to the penalty shoot-out, The Advantage, is under consideration by FIFA.