Mike Tindall is the rugby (rough translation for Americans: football)-playing husband of Princess Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter and Silver medal Olympics winner.
Four years ago, some friends were going to a horse auction, and at the last minute invited Mike and a friend to come along to fill in a last-minute vacancy. To give the night-out a bit of pepper, Mike and his friend bid on a horse about which they knew absolutely nothing. In fact, he had his back turned to the sales ring. But he bid £10,000 just for the fun of it. It was just about the last horse to be auctioned for the night, and the lowest price a horse had gone for that night was £28,000, so Mike felt he was on safe ground.
In other words, he did not have the slightest expectation of actually gaining ownership of the horse whose name was the possibly somewhat unpromising “Monbeg Dude.” So even though he’d never seen the Dude and hadn’t even read the brochure about him, he felt unruffled by upping his bid to £12,000 (about $20,000).
That was the winning bid. To his astonishment, and then in panic, he realized he was now the owner of a horse who had won exactly one race in his entire life. He’d even managed to break his pelvis during his first race.
Zara admitted that when she found out what he’d done, she called her husband was an absolute idiot.
Last week Monbeg Dude won the Welsh Grand National. Zara is now helping to improve his technique, and he’s booked for the Grand National trial in February and maybe the Cheltenham Gold Cup after that.
Estimates are that Monbeg Dude is now worth about £200,000. Not that they are interested in selling him, says Tindall.
But, he adds, “You couldn’t make it up, could you?”