by Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
IT’S another glory hunt for Billy Joe Saunders tomorrow – this time out of the ring.
The British and Commonwealth middleweight champion hopes his horse Roy’s Boy will be as unstoppable on Essex’s A127 as he is in the boxing ring.
Saunders has had a side-bet of £3,000 that Roy’s Boy will beat arch-rival Fireman Sam in their first heat showdown in the ‘King of the Road’ competition.
More than 300 horses belonging to Romany families take part in the competition, where money is raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Saunders, 23, said: “My horse reached the final last year and he just got beaten by Fireman Sam.
“This year I have drawn him in the first heat and I have bet £3,000 on Roy’s Boy, so hopefully he comes in a winner.
“We get up early in the morning and the horses go out first and then a few followers.
“It is a two-mile race and it builds up a bit of traffic for five minutes and then it clears.”
Although Saunders drives Roy’s Boy, he pays someone else to ride him in big horse and cart races where pride is at stake.
Saunders added: “I am not the best of riders. When it comes to a race and getting tactical, you have to get the best people on them.
“I just enjoy seeing my horse and being around that environment.”
Saunders, who is unbeaten in 16 fights, defends his titles against Manchester hard man Matthew Hall at York Hall, Bethnal Green, on March 21.
The Hertfordshire fighter said: “Having a horse is a great relaxation away from the boxing.
“When I come back home from the gym I have a lie down and think about what I have done wrong in sparring and boxing is playing on my mind.
“When I am away from boxing my horse is a complete relaxation.
“I look at the horse and he is a lovely picture because you see the hard work someone has put in and it is a good feeling.
“The people who train my horse are up at 5am to feed him, jog it at 7am and feed him again – they work as hard with Roy’s Boy as I do when I am in training.”