‘The dude goes, the horse is a maniac. He’s the maddest animal I’ve ever seen’
It's decided: our tempermental racehorse is going to be called Hoss O’Carroll-Kelly
“I’m looking at the goys and we’re all thinking the exact same thing. We’ve been stitched up here in a major way.”
I’m looking out the window at the passing – believe it or not – countryside. I’m like, “Goys, I’ve got actual butterflies here.”
They all know what I’m talking about.
“Lauren thinks I’m having some sort of midlife crisis,” Christian goes. “Spending 10Ks of our savings on a racehorse.”
I’m there, “I took my 10Ks out of the money we’d set aside for the triplets’ college education. I know they’re only four years old, but it’s pretty obvious that none of them are college material – on account of them being as thick as an embassy wall.”
The goys all laugh like they think I’m joking.
We’re all packed in Oisinn’s GMC Acadaia – we’re talking me, Oisinn, Christian, Fionn, JP and Ronan – and we’re on the way to, believe it or not, Tipperary, where the animal has been training for the past 10 days under the watchful eye of the legendary Aidan O’Brien.
Oisinn goes, “I definitely think we should torget Leopardstown on Stephen Zuzz Day. Everyone agree?”
I’m there, “Yeah, no, definitely.”
Then JP points out that we still haven’t come up with a name for the horse yet.
“What’s the Blackrock College one called?” Christian wants to know.
Oisinn goes, “Orthurian Fame.”
“Okay, why don’t we call ours, I don’t know, Orthurian Avenger? Or Orthurian Nemesis?”
Fionn’s there, “We’re not doing this just to piss off Blackrock College, are we?”
I’m like, “Er, I am? And if the rest of you are wussing out, then I want my money back.”
“What I mean is, let’s define our horse on our terms, not theirs. What about Spirit of Fehily?”
I’m there, “What about Big Ride of a Thing?”
And then Ronan pipes up from the back seat. “Hee-or,” he goes, “what about Hoss O’Carroll-Kelly?”
Everyone laughs, then they all stort repeating it, like it’s actually growing on them, and by the time we arrive at the stables, it’s been decided – his name is going to be Hoss O’Carroll-Kelly.
We pork the cor, then we head in. We’re met by some random elderly dude in a flat cap, who tells us he’s the trainer and we’re very welcome to his yord.
I pull JP to one side. I’m there, “That’s not Aidan O’Brien.”
He goes, “No, it’s Eamon O’Brien.”
“I thought you said you’d managed to get us Aidan O’Brien.”
“No, I said I managed to get us Eamon O’Brien.”
“For fock’s sake. I’ve been telling everyone – including three members of the Blackrock syndicate I storted haranguing out of the window of my cor the other day – that we had Aidan O’Brien.”
“I definitely said Eamon, Ross.”
“I was shouting at them on Morehampton Road: ‘We’ve got Aidan O’Brien! Aidan O’Brien, goys!’ then giving them the wanker sign.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, Ross. It must have been a bad line.”
“So who’s this focking joker?”
“I think he’s maybe a cousin of Aidan’s. Distant.”
Of course, Eamon is listening to this entire conversation.
I’m there, “Do you know how stupid I’m going to look now?”
Eamon goes, “Is everything okay, fellas?”
And Oisinn’s like, “Yeah, everything’s fine. It’s just Ross making strange.”
The dude just shakes it off, in fairness to him, then he leads us down to the field where our horse – the famous Hoss – is standing around, basically chilling.
“Now, which do you want first,” Eamon goes, “the bad news or the bad news?”
I’m there, “Yeah, we’ve already had the bad news – you’re not who you were supposed to be? So what else is wrong?”
“Your horse has, let’s just say, a tricky personality.”
“Yeah? You’d want to meet my daughter.”
“What I’m saying is that he’s not an animal who’d be temperamentally suited to racing.”
This news leaves us all – literally – open-mouthed.
Oisinn goes, “But we paid fifty Ks for him.”
The dude chuckles – actually chuckles!
“I meet a lot of fellas like yee,” he goes. “Lads who reach a certain age and they decide to buy a horse together. And I always tell them the same thing. For most people, you only have two happy days when you own a horse: the day you buy it and the day you sell it. It’s a bit like boats. I’m sure your friend here knows a thing or two about that.”
He nods in my direction?
I’m there, “I don’t own a boat. I just dress like I do. What do you mean when you say that he’s not temperamentally suited to racing?”
The dude goes, “The horse is a maniac. He’s the maddest animal I’ve ever seen.”
I’m looking at the goys and we’re all thinking the exact same thing. We’ve been stitched up here in a major way.
JP goes, “There must be something you can do. You’re supposed to be a trainer, aren’t you?”
The dude’s like, “No one here can work with him. He’s bucking and rearing and kicking and biting. He won’t let anyone up on his back.”
I’m there, “I’ve squandered my children’s education on this horse. Do you know what a laughing stock I’m going to be among the Rock goys, who hate my guts but at the same time respect me as an opponent?”
“What can I say?” the dude goes. “You could sell him to a rodeo or something. But I’ll tell you this – he’s untrainable. There isn’t a horseman or a horsewoman in Ireland who could get that animal to do what they want him to do.”
I’m like, “It’s a focking nightmare.”
But then Fionn all of a sudden goes, “Look, goys!” and we all follow his line of vision towards Ronan, who’s standing in the field in front of the horse. He’s talking, I don’t know, soothingly to the animal and then he rests his forehead against the horse’s forehead and goes, “Are you gonna be a good boy and let me up on yisser back?”
And the horse – I swear to God – just sort of, like, blows through his nostrils, which presumably means ‘Yes’, because Ronan, in one fluid movement, jumps up and throws his leg over the horse’s back.
The thing doesn’t buck or rear or kick or bite?
This Eamon dude is seriously impressed. “My God,” he goes, “would you look that!”
And 10 seconds later, Ronan is galloping Hoss O’Carroll-Kelly around the field.
“Goys,” I go, “I think we’ve just found our jockey.”