When Mark Scope got into his taxi on a recent Monday morning, he may have anticipated a few things. Drunk passengers. People asking him what time his shift finished. But what he couldn’t have forecast was finding a horse charging down the A1.
“It came galloping up between two car lanes,” recalled the 38-year-old. “I’ve been driving a taxi for years, and it is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen at work. I mean, it isn’t every day that you are confronted with a racehorse galloping towards you on the A1.”
ChronicleLive reports that the horse, it would later emerge, was Savannah Moon. The four-year-old was a 10/1 shot in the 6pm at Newcastle. But it clipped its heels and stumbled, leaving jockey Tom Eaves with a broken leg. The runaway horse then left Gosforth Park.
Running on the A1 at any time would be risky at best. But considering Savannah Moon was running towards traffic, it could have been disastrous. Thankfully, the filly couldn’t have found a better person to befriend than Mark.
“I used to ride horses 15 years ago,” said Mark, from Ponteland. “Instinct just kicked in and when I noticed it, I jumped out as it galloped past. It was a bit wound up, and jogging on the spot, and clearly a bit distressed.”
Footage shot by Newmarket Racing Transport employee Patsy Roche as she enjoyed a McDonald’s shows Mark calming the horse down. “I was watching the tops of cars going by and I just saw this racehorse gallop by - it was really surreal,” said Patsy.
“We both went into job mode to catch the horse. We were passing kids and they were saying ‘did you see the horse?’ We got around the corner and there was a taxi driver with the horse. I’m not sure if the horse had stopped running or if the driver had managed to stop him. It was all over in a couple of minutes. It was only afterwards you start to think about what could have happened.” Thankfully the worst didn’t happen.
And for Noda driver Mark, he’s got another cracking story for the road.
And he actually had a fare at the time - whom he had just picked up from the vets.
“It made her day!” he laughed.