Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

Whoosh! I was addicted from the first gallop to the heavenly, godlike, immortal speed

It's ample compensation for the prospect of potential serious injury and imminent financial ruin

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.

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