An English racehorse trainer and horse dealer’s son, Goldsmith was born and brought up in Paris and spoke fluent French. In 1942 he was recruited in to the legendary Special Operations Executive, or SOE, and dropped three times behind enemy lines. On each of these missions he drew on the reserves of nerve and guile that he had acquired in the horse racing world. In 1943 he organised the escape of a French air force general across the Pyrenees but a few months later he was caught by the Gestapo in Paris only to engineer his own getaway from a locked third floor hotel room. By the end of the war he had been awarded the DSO, MC, Croix de Guerre and Legion d’Honneur.
Resuming his peacetime occupation in 1946 Goldsmith was sent numerous French racehorses to train. Goldsmith found uncanny similarities between the secret agent’s milieu and the black market world of Britain’s post war racetracks and, in partnership with a high stakes Mayfair bookie, he orchestrated some of the most audacious betting coups in racing history.
"Remarkable story" The Spectator