So how did you get interested in racing?

I went to the Derby at Epsom as my first racemeeting in June 1948. The winner was My Love. I really got into it in my mid-teens. I would have gone with a few mates when I was 15 or 16. I’ve been into it ever since.

Easy Game had a fantastic victory last weekend in a quality race too, any plans for him?

It was a great performance. Considering the ground, the time was pretty good as well. The handicapper rated it as his best ever performance and he has been raised 3lb as a result. He will be on his winter holidays now. Despite the fact that he won on that ground, he doesn’t like heavy ground. He can never really give his best on it. I think he will probably reappear around next March. He has won a race at Easter in Fairyhouse for the last three years. I imagine he will be aimed at that. He probably won’t run for the next couple of months.

Tell us about Wicklow Brave. He stands out as the best you have had.

He was an enigmatic star. You never knew which Wicklow Brave was going to turn up but he was brilliant on his day. We had some wonderful days with him. I think the best of which has to be winning the Irish St Leger. It was a tactical race, Frankie Dettori got the drop on Ryan Moore on that occasion. The County Hurdle was also fantastic. It was a masterpiece of a ride from Paul Townend. There is nothing quite like a winner at Cheltenham. We had a near-miss in the Champion Hurdle with Arctic Fire against Faugheen ‘the machine’. He also went on to win a County Hurdle.

It was unfortunate and sad how Wicklow Brave’s career came to an end over in the States. Would you mind telling us about the emotions you felt that day?

Well, I’ve often said it, it was my worst day in racing without a doubt. He was going to win the American National that day. He put his foot in a hole and broke his shoulder and that was that. I’d even go as far to say as it was probably the lowest day of my life. I had messages from a lot of people who were most sympathetic which was a help. Most people who have been involved in horse racing have had days like that. They know what it feels like. It’s something that is extremely hard to go through. That day will stay with me until I depart this planet.

You’re not someone who has bought a lot of horses but you have had an extraordinary amount of success with the horses that you have had.

Yes, indeed I have been extremely lucky. I think you have to attribute a good lot of the credit to Harold Kirk. He is phenomenal at buying horses. He buys most of Willie’s and I was lucky enough to get some good ones. It’s the luck of the draw. We have also had a few horses that I would struggle to remember the names of. Nobody else would have even heard of them. You don’t get a coconut with every shy, as they say.

You have had a fantastic relationship with the legendary Willie Mullins over the years. Tel us about how that came about.

I was in Punchestown for the Festival, I think it was back in 2011. I was thinking about getting a horse in Ireland at the time. I got chatting to a fella at the table who was sitting opposite me at the cafeteria. He suggested I give a horse to Willie. I said ‘No, he wouldn’t be interested in me, I’m only a little guy.’

He told me that Willie likes a good spread of owners. It turned out that his wife was a cousin of Willie’s.

We came back over for the Derby that year and went down the Closutton on that trip. Willie sold me a horse on the spot. It turned out to be not very good but within a week or two he bought Simenon for me. He went onto to do some great things.

Tell us more about Simenon. He was another exceptional talent.

Simenon ran well a couple of times in Ascot and we decided to go for the Ascot Gold Cup in 2013. He ended up finishing second to Queen Elizabeth’s horse Estimate. The winner hung across him quite badly actually. Ryan Moore got a two-day holiday for his ride that day but, for some reason in their wisdom, the stewards decided not to change the result. I thought we should have objected and I told Willie as much at the time. He said back to me: “You cannot object to your Queen, you will wind up in the Tower of London!”

Authorized Art is a horse who has been running exceptionally well lately. Could he potentially be an Aintree Grand National type of horse?

I don’t know at this stage. I think he only just about gets three miles. I know sometimes it works out that those type of horses are alright going further. It’s not been spoken about anyway. If he ever does go the Aintree route, I don’t think it will be the 2024 National. He is a very good horse though and he will be running again before too long.

On the British side of things there has been a lot of talk about the restrictions being imposed on punters by affordability checks. Have you any view on it?

It’s definitely a worry. I fear for racing. People who go racing have been betting on horses for the last three or four centuries. Obviously, the odd person will get themselves into difficulty, but that could happen in any walk of life. It’s ridiculous, as far as I’m concerned. It appears to be the case that ignorant people are interfering and they have this agenda to stop horse racing altogether. It is a matter of great concern for the sport.