Charlie Mann, whose cavalier spirit once helped him ride in the Velka Pardubicka on a fake homemade licence, was on Tuesday able to see the funny side after being arrested in Poland last week when getting too close to the Ukrainian border.
The retired trainer travelled over to Poland in April as part of an aid mission for those affected by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
He left again on Wednesday and returned home on Saturday, but had an “interesting” encounter with the military.
“It was like the great escape,” said Mann, who quit training last year.
“We got arrested on Friday by the Polish army on the border with Ukraine. I suppose we were too close to the border having a look.
“They’ve got these telegraph poles with cameras on every 50 yards or so. I was watching this one go round following me. I thought it was a bit funny and then three Polish soldiers on motorbikes flew up and arrested us. They took us to the barracks and it was a bit daunting because they got a bit fierce.
“We were there for about three hours – they wanted to fine us £2,500 but we got them down to £600. I managed to nick an army cap off the wall, so I’ve got a nice momento.”
Mann, having suffered a career-ending neck injury, printed his own riding licence to take part in the fearsome Velka Pardubicka in 1995, a race he won on Its A Snip.
Memories of that might have been evoked, although Mann suggested his jaunts may be over.
“It was all for the military, supplying the Ukrainian army with arms for want of a better word,” he added.
“We took helmets, flak jackets, all brand new stuff, but the AK-47s are on the next trip!
“That was the second trip and I should think it will be the last. I feel like I’ve been in more nicks than Ronnie Biggs!”
Courtesy of Racing Post.