“Now I’m grown up, Rich Ricci and his horse seem too obvious, even for a joke.” Rich Ricci and jockey Paul Townsend with Arvika Ligeonniere, after winning the Racing Post Novice Steeplechase at Leopardstown last year. Photograph: Eric Luke

On this day 20 years ago, I received a phone call from a man with a heavy foreign accent responding to an advertisement I had placed in (...)