Bunhill: Horsing around at Lloyds

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YOU CAN tell Sir Jeremy Morse has retired from Lloyds Bank. The bookish Sir Jeremy would surely never have countenanced the latest TV advertising campaign from the bank, which features thuggish trolls and greedy princesses. It's a campaign for which the word crass seems to have been invented.

All very different from the days when the camera would linger lovingly on the famous black horse as it galloped through surf to the strains of Bach's Cantata 140. The rearing horse is now relegated to a fleeting, distant glimpse at the end.

Which is a bit sad for Graham Parker, owner of Downlands Cancara, the actual animal who has starred in the ads since 1988.

'The new ads are a bit different,' he admits, but loyally refuses to drub them in the way they richly deserve. Cancara, who is the fourth Lloyds Bank black horse, is a Trakehner stallion of 16 hands, aged 17 - or 51 in equine years. He has become something of a celebrity, appearing at the Horse of the Year Show, the showjumping championships and numerous county shows to the delight of his many fans.

At his small stud farm near Petersfield, Hampshire, Parker, a TV cameraman by trade, and his daughter Louise groom Cancara for his many assignments. As well as earning appearance money from Lloyds, he has sired hundreds of foals, his stud fee being pounds 450 a time.

Parker tells me that in order to get him to rear for the camera, Cancara had to be shown a mare in season. This certainly got him up on his hindlegs. Alas, it also stirred him in other ways. Fortunately the graphics boffins were able to work their magic with the airbrush.