InterviewThe Big Read

'I've had my gravestone done and planned the whole day - I've even done the seating plan, which includes a few little in-jokes'

Sir Mark Prescott treats Lee Mottershead to a rip-roaring evening after ending a 28-year Royal Ascot drought

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Sir Mark Prescott recently sent out his first Royal Ascot winner in 28 years
Sir Mark Prescott recently sent out his first Royal Ascot winner in 28 yearsCredit: Edward Whitaker

With apologies to the subject of this interview, there is no need here for any formal introductions.

For a start, we do not have the time. If fortunate enough to spend a late afternoon and early evening in the company of Sir Mark Prescott, you get through a tremendous amount of material. The reason for this latest meeting is his recent return to Royal Ascot's winner's enclosure after an absence of 28 years, yet across four hours the conversation extends to, among other things, horses, training, the future of racing, the future of Prescott, politics, politicians and an unfortunate incident that occurred somewhere north of Wolverhampton. Mindful of all this, you will hopefully appreciate the importance of keeping the preamble short and snappy.

In the wonderful time capsule that has been Prescott's home at Heath House Stables for more than half a century, Mrs Carter is working in the office, while Mrs Buckerfield awaits us in the front room. Mrs Carter (Diane) is the trainer's racing secretary. Mrs Buckerfield (Janet) is a much-respected vet who once worked in Newmarket before emigrating to Australia. She is back home in Britain for a three-month holiday and has been asked by her old friend if she might like to be mother.

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