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By Anne Digby

Mary Wilkins embarks on a bold scheme to avoid wasting the lifestyles and profession of the loved horse she has taken care of whereas its proprietor, her youth ally, is away at boarding college.

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Yet he will see it at the television tube this night! ' Then the tannoy used to be crackling back : 'Now I name quantity 23. luck, ridden through omit Mary Wilkins and owned through Mr Wilkins. ' Mary took September around the path in an all-or-nothing burst. She knew she was once risking faults, and he or she had a transparent around to overcome, yet so much of all she had the clock to overcome. it might be dead to do a ideal around yet move over the three mins 50. 'Come on, boy, everything's operating for us this day – the crowd's with us – i will suppose it – quicker – faster—' They took leap after bounce, handing over the tightest figures of 8 and U-turns, giving September the shortest of run-ups to every bounce –but he soared over all of them, even the Demon's Dyke. As they took the final bounce faultlessly the gang roared with happiness and Mary knew that the gamble had come off. The clock acknowledged three mins forty eight seconds. Mary Wilkins, the unknown daughter of an unknown cowman, had received essentially the most coveted show-jumping trophies in Britain –and a cheque for £3,000 for her father, because the proprietor of a very vague horse referred to as 'Good Fortune'. As Mary dismounted and led September from the path, she felt vulnerable, exhausted via her nice attempt, yet exhilarated while. humans pressed round her, shaking her via the hand; girls and boys thrust autograph books and Biros lower than her nostril. A press photographer seemed and she or he heard his digital camera click on, now not as soon as, yet numerous instances. Then, all around the convey flooring, the loudspeakers crackled and a voice came visiting: 'That's it, then, women and gents. After that very interesting jump-off, this year's winner of the Western Counties' Championship is quantity 23, leave out Mary Wilkins driving success, owned through Mr John Wilkins. They accomplished a transparent around in three mins and forty eight seconds. The presentation should be made at the rostrum in 5 mins' time. Please enable the competitor to come back to the enclosure. thanks. ' It had all particularly occurred! Mary flung her palms around September's neck, tears of happiness in her eyes. He nuzzled her lightly. 'We've won,' she whispered. 'We've gained! ' the place used to be Anna? She gazed on the faces urgent in on her, yet Anna's was once no longer among them. the group cleared a course in order that she may well get to the enclosure. Foolishly, Mary part anticipated that she may perhaps locate Anna looking ahead to her within the enclosure. as an alternative she observed just some stewards – and Colonel John Markham. He was once observing hands folded, as his groom unsaddled Stardust and commenced to rub him down. yet he became his head as Mary got here in with September. 'Congratulations, younger woman. ' He was once smiling. 'D'you recognize you will have damaged the Duke's six-year run right here, with that horse of yours? My lifestyles will not be worthy residing while he hears i have been crushed via a slip of a lady. ' He shook her via the hand, and she or he blushed. Then a deep Devonshire voice in the back of her instructed her that her uncle Henry had arrived within the enclosure. 'I'll wager the Duke would favor this fellow in his stables, Colonel Markham, sir,' he chuckled. He took Mary by way of the arm and he or she observed that his face was once redder than ever and a vein used to be throbbing in his neck, so nice was once his pleasure.

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