YOU might think that trying to breed National Hunt racehorses is a sure way of burning through your available capital and doing terrible things to your blood pressure into the bargain. But only a short time in the company of Richard Kelvin Hughes could make you feel that you’re missing out.

“If more people saw the enjoyment you get from it, more people would do it,” he enthuses, the cares of a winter’s morning at work falling away from him as he reflects on the horses in his life. “There’s no way it’s financially profitable but you get to know them so well. I sometimes feel sorry for people who are unable to do it, because they don’t have the pasture or the land or whatever. When they’re young, to have that time with them before they go racing, you get very attached to them. You get to know their characters.”