Carol Vorderman and Richard Hammond enjoy 'incredible day' with mare at Ascot
Darkness was descending but there was no mistaking either the bright red trouser suit or the broad smile worn by former Countdown queen Carol Vorderman after the last race at Ascot on Saturday.
For once the cameras were not on her, or fellow celebrity Richard Hammond, of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame.
Instead, they were greeting their pride and joy Subway Surf after she had finished third in the bumper, the last of nine races on a hectic Saturday.
"I was so nervous – my knees are still shaking," said Vorderman as she patted the five-year-old mare who had been beaten under five lengths by the eighth winner on the day for trainer Paul Nicholls.
"It doesn't get any better than Ascot and that was amazing. It's the first time I've seen her race, and isn't she beautiful?"
Vorderman knows a thing or two about racing, having had a share in the James Bethell-trained Mare Of Wetwang with her Countdown host Richard Whiteley. That mare's greatest moment came with a selling win at Ripon in 2001, but Subway Surf promises much more.
That potential also excites Hammond, who like Vorderman has 'previous' in the sport.
"Oh yes, I've had interests in other horses – the last one won only one race – with trainer Kim Bailey but this mare looks like she could be good," he said.
Asked whether he could handle a horse as adeptly as he handles fast cars, Hammond said: "I've tried riding horses and know only which way to sit – looking at the sharp-end and not the round backend – and point them, looking through their ears!"
He added: "Subway Surf could be a proper horse. I've known Kim a long time, and it's a great group of people involved in her. It's been an incredible day."
Next stop for the team looks like being Sandown on the Saturday before the Cheltenham Festival in a Listed mares' bumper, which will make for a busy week for Vorderman.
"I love Cheltenham and go there with the lovely Michael Dickinson and his wife, who I've stayed with at Tapeta Farm – I will be at the festival on Tuesday and Friday this year," added Vorderman, who spends her time away from work flying her plane and "galavanting around exploring new places".
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