Driving down Chalk Lane at night, sitting in the trunk of an Audi with a couple of the racing lads from the yard just around the corner, our feet hanging just a few inches above the asphalt. One of the horses has won; everybody’s in a fine mood and drunk as can be, never mind that there will be boxes to muck and horses to gallop in just six hours. Somebody pops a bottle of something bubbly and the cork flies out of the trunk; a trail of bubbles drips down over the laces of our trainers and onto Chalk Lane, rapidly receding.
My bedroom window faces out on the yard and I wake up to the sound of hooves. Still drunk, breath clouding, I climb out the window to return one of the racers to his box. He’s figured out how to jiggle the latch until it gives. His muzzle rests against my elbow when I can’t find a headcollar and tuck the chestnut head against my chest. We stand for a moment under the stars in Surrey before I lock him back in the fresh straw and tie the box shut. See you in the morning, lovely boy.