WITHIN the space of a few seconds, new Amazon Prime documentary Horsepower shows both the amazingly financially lucrative side of racing… and the reality.
It is unlikely viewers hoping to catch a behind-the-scenes look at the glitz and glam of Royal Ascot would expect to hear about ‘testicles doubling in size’ 18 minutes into episode two.
Champion jockey Murphy features heavily in new Amazon Prime doc Horsepower as we follow the ups and downs of his turbulent career
Top trainer Balding’s wife Anna Lisa emerges as one of the stars of the four-part series
But that is what we get as one scene shows 2000 Guineas winner Kameko getting ready to cover a mare at stud.
Bought by Qatar Racing for around £70,000, the hope is the horse will go onto earn tens of millions producing the sport’s next superstars.
Watching on is Oisin Murphy.
Along with top trainer Andrew Balding, three-time champion jockey Murphy is one of the stars of the show.
He rode Kameko to victory in that Newmarket race but the four-part series follows him after his ban for a failed drugs test.
Sun Racing revealed in October 2020 that Murphy, who always denied taking cocaine, had tested positive for the drug.
Viewers unfamiliar with his story will be treated to the tale of his rise against the odds – and the demons he has battled.
But perhaps new to even followers of the sport will be the occasional ratty side we see from arguably the sport’s best rider.
In one scene Murphy, sitting in his car en route to the airport, rants at Sue, his driver: “F***ing car, we need a Jaguar again.”
Prior to that he slated her for the ‘stupid place’ she hung her jacket up in the bag of the motor.
Sitting in the backseat, Murphy responds like a child when asked if he is sulking by Sue.
Murphy responds sullenly: “No, I’m not in a mood.”
In a moment of candidness to camera, Sue, getting her words out through seemingly forced laughter, admits: “It’s a love/hate relationship.
“Some days I love him, some days I can’t stand him. Mostly I can’t stand him!”
Rare moments of insight give even loyal racing followers a glimpse into the real life of jockeys away from huge cheques, adoring fans and trophies.
Some of the scenes that might mean the most to casual viewers are those featuring Abdul – a work rider who came to the UK from war-torn Sudan under the wheel arch of a lorry.
Unable to read or write, Balding’s wife Anna Lisa treated him like one of her own.
We learn about his place in the racing family at Kingsclere stables in Newbury and the heartbreaking impact his decision to leave has on all of them.
Mixed in with this is race footage, a nice explanation of terms you might not come across normally – such as Alcohol Free’s ‘winter coat’ – and a sense of just how global the operation of a top trainer really is.
With scenes of laughter, genuine tension, and sadness, Horsepower is based on racing – but really it’s about so much more.
Watch Horsepower on Amazon Prime from Friday.