And light-years away are sales-ring rivalries on this balmy evening on the Isle of Man. For a man of his millions, Sangster is not addicted to sophisticated pleasures, his one unwelcome burst into the gossip columns happening three years ago when he stole Susan Peacock, now Susan Sangster, away from her husband, now Australia's Foreign Minister. With the dinner plates cleared away, she says domestically, "Won't be late, will you, dear?" This as he and his guest head to a pub for a quick one before closing time.
In the bar of the Palace in Douglas, the locals greet Sangster in a friendly and unsurprised way. He is a local himself, after all, even though he will be away much of the year, in Ireland with O'Brien, in Australia to look at his horses and to watch the Melbourne Cup, in Hong Kong to look at the new track and in Teheran to look at the even newer one ("What an outlet!" he murmurs. "They'll want at least 100 horses there"). And this month he will be in New York for the launching of the new lottery that Vernons is organizing for New York State, called, with engaging simplicity, "Lotto."
In essence, the lottery is the football pools without the soccer teams. It has long been known in England that the least likely way to win half a million pounds on the pools is by studying form. Because of the pari-mutuel system, the big prizes come up when form is overturned. You are better off making stabs with a pin. Or simply choosing the same numbers each week and sticking with them.
In "Lotto" you choose six numbers out of 40 for a dollar. Your pick goes onto magnetic tape in White Plains, N.Y. and into an on-line computer. The guaranteed weekly first prize is $250,000. If there is a roll-up jackpot, maybe a million. The odds are extremely long. But Sangster likes to recall a remark made to him by an Episcopal clergyman from the British Churches' Council on Gambling. "We're both in the same business," the reverend gentleman said. "Selling hope."
But racing is what Sangster is most deeply involved in, and more and more it is plain that his attentions will be directed to the U.S. He says, "Last year I was the leading prizewinner in England. This year I am leading in prize money there and in France. Altogether in Europe last year I won about $1.2 million. It barely covered my expenses. How others get on I cannot imagine. I feel sorry for them."
The lease on the Kentucky horse farm may prove very significant. "The Americans showed us," Sangster says. "In the '50s and '60s they came to Europe and bought the best of our mares. Now they have the best blood. Kentucky is where the best mares and stallions are, where the management is the best in the world. That is where we will concentrate our efforts from now on."
On form, the results are likely to be explosive.