First job in the Thoroughbred industry?
Racing editor of Horse & Hound.
Biggest influence on your career?
Julian Muscat, my editor during three gloriously happy years at Pacemaker, for steering me on the path of righteousness towards the Flat and (almost) away from National Hunt racing.
Favourite racehorse of all time, and why?
Dereham. He'll never be a champion but he gave me my happiest moment of 2022 when winning on our home course at Newmarket. He's the last foal of the first racehorse I ever rode and he's by my favourite stallion, Sir Percy, so he's extra special. In the major leagues it will always be Montjeu.
Who will be champion first-season sire in 2023?
I'm really hoping that Masar, like his sire New Approach before him, will take a lot of people by surprise with his first-crop runners.
Greatest race in the world?
The Derby. Need you ask?
If you could be someone else in the industry for a day who would it be, and why?
I have enormous admiration for Camilla Trotter and I'd enjoy spending (more than) a day poring over some of the smart pedigrees and mating plans she works on for her clients. She's an unsung heroine.
Emerging talent in the industry (human)?
Harry Davies, who has an extraordinarily cool, tactical head on young shoulders and (sorry to sound like his great aunt) lovely manners.
Name a horse TDN should have made a Rising Star, and didn't?
Isfahan (Gestüt Ohlerweiherhof). He got a German Derby winner and German Oaks runner-up in his first crop and offers increasingly rare access to the Mill Reef line.
Friday night treat?
Fish and chips while watching Luke Harvey and Jason Weaver on Get In. I'm a cheap date unless I am coerced into swilling Champagne by my dangerously-near neighbour Nancy Sexton.
Guilty pleasure outside racing?
Beating friend and co-breeder Bob Nastanovich at Pitch, the card game he taught me.
Race I wish I'd been there for…
The finest race report of all time was written by John Oaksey under the pen name of Audax in Horse & Hound, recounting Mandarin's epic victory in the 1962 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris under a swashbuckling ride by Fred Winter.
Oaksey ended his magnificent account with the line, “I have never seen a comparable feat, never expect to–and can only thank God that I was there.” I only wish I had been there too.
If you haven't read it, I urge you to click on this link and defy you not to be in tears by the end of it. As a piece of writing about horseracing it will never be bettered.