The “world’s toughest and longest horse race”, the Mongol Derby (6-16 August), has its first cabinet minister on the start list this year — Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson

Favourite horses and scary moments “Can you sit down yet?” Yes. As previously mentioned one thigh took a battering. Muscularly I was in good shape before the race and did not find it physically taxing, except that I was tired from dehydration or lack of sleep at times. I’ll have…

Smell-o-vision “Did you have a favourite horse?” This is a tough one. There were definitely legs I enjoyed more than others, but this was a function of the geography of the leg, how easy a run we had, the weather, the company and my physical condition, as much as the…

I survived, but I didn’t win “How bad did you smell by the finish?” Hmm, it’s all relative. I was racing for 9 days, sweated several litres on the very first leg, and wore the same breeches, and a choice of 2 pants, 2 bras and 2 long-sleeved tops for…