Scotland looked so beautiful today that she made me catch my breath. I think that I never forget the beauty; I think that I am all about the love and trees; I imagine that I wander about in a perpetual haze of hello clouds, hello sky.
In fact, sometimes I do not stop and look closely enough. To be surrounded by this much beauty is a privilege indeed. The fact that at least a quarter of my day’s work, with my mare and with HorseBack, takes place in the open air, so that I may feel the breeze on my face and observe the indigo hills and watch the colours of the changing landscape, is a greater piece of fortune still.
Today, I really, really looked.
It made my heart expand. It reminded me why I came here in the first place. It was because I fell in love with the hills like you fall in love with a person. Everyone thought I was nuts, and quite a lot of people still do. I don’t care. I have these hills and that is all that matters.
And now, I’m going to recklessly take the whole afternoon off, and watch the racing from Towcester, a course my old dad loved, and see if the mighty AP McCoy may ride his four thousandth winner. No human has ever come close to such a number. Even as I think of it, I can feel the blood rushing faster through my veins. I always become galvanised when I am in the presence of greatness, and this jockey is greatness indeed.
It is not just that he has talent, or that he has honed his skills. Many jockeys do that. He is brilliant in a finish, but he’s not the only one. On a rather rare occasion, you may see him be beaten by another rider.
It’s another quality, something to do with steeliness and drive and desire; something to do with pushing himself harder, seeing the peaks more clearly, wanting them more. The thing he says that he has had to try and teach himself is how to lose. He never taught himself that lesson very well. He minds each defeat; he takes it as a personal insult. I’ve seen him lift horses over the line, convince them half a mile out that they really don’t want to give up. He never says die. He is a titan, and I salute him, and when he reaches his magic number, I shall throw all my hats in the air.