In a sense, my life has been lived as a cycle of passions (some would say obsessions) that remain interests as the passion cools. Until my mid-twenties it was horse racing and breeding; don’t be fooled, though, by my apparent youth when I made the transition to wine. By the time I was ten years old I could recite male lines back to the 19th century. I may well have done my “10 000 hours” by the time I turned 25.
I did ride horses, of course, but my interest in Thoroughbreds was (and remains) their supreme athleticism. On the intellectual side, yes, I did study the form in preparation for an afternoon of punting, but I spent much more time studying pedigrees in an attempt to improve the tiny chance of breeding a champion.
These days, having spent many more than 10 000 hours branding, marketing and selling stuff, I am particularly interested in the challenge of turning the industry’s fortune’s around. The commercial side of horse racing (i.e. the entire customer experience, as well as its marketing) has been appallingly badly run. The most amazing thing is that those leading and managing the industry don’t seem to be capable of learning from their past errors.
Anyway, the picture above was taken by Charles Faull, when he was taking a break while photographing my parents’ new stallion, Truely Nureyev, about 24 years ago. I thought it would be fun to jump onto the stallion’s back and trot around the paddock for a minute, but he had other ideas. I don’t normally put myself in situations of potential physical danger, so it was fortuitous to have a camera around to record my moment of folly (and, no, I didn’t fall off).