‘How’s your shoulder?’ someone asked recently, and it was only then I realised, for the first time in a while, that my shoulder felt good again. In last year’s Grand National — you might recall if you watched it on television — I had a heavy fall when going well on Long Run, the wonderful horse on whom I won the Gold Cup. I landed on my shoulder and had to hobble off the course. Those famously intimidating Grand National fences may have been made a bit more forgiving in recent years — thank God! — but they are still huge, and when you fall going over one it hurts.
Not that I’m put off. The Grand National continues to excite me as much as any horse-racing romantic. The National crams every human emotion into about eight minutes.