The buzz of the ringside remains alluring in a sport that only kings can afford
Published 05/12/2012 | 06:00
Our ancient mythology contains many wonderful stories that tell of a Celtic dreamland where fantasy replaces reality.
A land where no one grows old and where men happily wander, hunting by day and feasting by night in the company of merry maidens.
While some would say that such dreams are nothing more than tales imagined by long-dead druids hallucinating on magic mushrooms, they are in fact very much still with us.
Just visit Goff's bloodstock sales as I did one day in October and you are immediately transported into a world where anything is possible.
The autumn round of horse sales are our dreamtime and while the groomed and polished yearlings parade around the ring, the auctioneer's voice rings out the verdict on dreams fulfilled or shattered and fortunes made and lost.
I know quite a bit about such dreams as, for 20 years or more, I laboured to find this land where great riches awaited.
I was perhaps unlucky in that, at the age of 25, at Tattersalls Newmarket December sales, I purchased a filly out of training for the then substantial sum of 4,000 guineas and subsequently sold her first foal for 15,000 guineas as a yearling.
While that represented a great profit, the unlucky part was that I thought I had found the road to making my fortune. I was aware enough to know that luck plays a large part in such success but, for the next 20 years, I toiled at the business of running a stud farm. This included spending hours at the wheel of my jeep transporting mares to and from stud, rearing foals, preparing for sales and travelling far and wide, buying and selling in Ireland, England and France and all the while pursuing that elusive dream.