The young lad behind the counter of the betting shop looked at me askance. ‘This horse is 200–1.’
‘Yes. I know.’
He leaned over the counter and lowered his voice. ‘Have you had a tip?’
I looked around me to see why he was whispering. ‘No.’
He stared at the betting slip. ‘You’ve had a tip, haven’t you?’
‘No!’ I insisted. I really hadn’t had a tip either. I was betting on a horse I had just seen being loaded into a lorry in the yard where Darcy is busy becoming a racehorse.
I got so excited seeing, for the first time, one of my horse’s stablemates going out to the races, to be ridden by her trainer, no less, that I ran down to the Coral and put a fiver on the nose.
The horse didn’t win but I had a fun few hours fantasising that if it did I would be able to pay Darcy’s training fees next month, no problem. As it is, I’m going to have the same struggle as last month.
I tried to haggle on the basis that I would do as much of the riding as I could myself, and write a book about it — if I could find a publisher— but the trainer insisted that the price was the price. In fact, within a week of me turning up he put the price up by a hundred quid.
‘Really?’ I whined, as he grinned at me in that sardonic way of his, arm still in a sling from his last tumble.
To be fair, it’s an all-in deal, and not bad compared with bigger yards. I tried to interest a few friends in a syndicate but they didn’t have the vision. They looked at me, a famous loony, and they looked at the thoroughbred I bought as a yearling, her tummy all nice and full of grass after three years of being mollycoddled, and they thought ‘Nah!’ So without a syndicate, I’m probably going to go to the wall financially.