In 1924 Fred Astaire was starring in the show ‘Stop Flirting’ in London with his sister, Adele.
Andrew Gosling, the grandson of Jack Leach, recalls the story of how the two first met and formed a friendship:
“I think it was at Sandown Park one day that he [Fred] was trying to gain admission to the area where owners, trainers and the jockeys not actually riding in the race itself would watch from.
My grandfather took pity on him and persuaded the official to let him in. My grandfather introduced himself (Fred had already recognised him as he was a leading jockey of the time) but my grandfather had no idea who this
American was, so asked “And who the hell are you?’. They became firm friends. Fred was best man at my grandparents' wedding in 1928 and was godfather to my mother, born in 1931.
Apparently he came to her 18th birthday party (at The Dorchester no less!), danced with her and trod all over her toes! We suspect this was down to her, not him…”
Jack trained the racehorses Fred kept in England, and many of the letters discuss racing and the wellbeing of these horses.
Their friendship spanned right up until Jack passed away in 1972, aged 70.