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By Dick Francis

As jockey Alan York checked out the again of invoice Davidson astride the nice horse Admiral, something used to be various. ahead of his rival reached the final hurdle, he used to be useless. Alan knew racing used to be harmful; he additionally knew Bill's demise was once no coincidence. It used to be the type of wisdom that can get a guy killled....
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There, ten yards away, stood the craggy Clifford Tudor, opulently rolling a cigar around his mouth and laying down the legislation to his coach and jockey. strange, i assumed, how usually I had come upon that guy. I watched him make heavy cutting motions along with his darkish arms to stress his issues, and stuck the younger jockey, Joe's alternative, wrinkling his brow in acute nervousness. My gaze slid past him to the place Sir Creswell Stampe used to be superintending the elevating of his unamiable son David into the saddle, sooner than going to take his judicial place within the Stewards' field. past him back have been different teams of householders and running shoes making plans their plans, hoping their hopes, giving their jockeys directions (and counter-instructions) and calculating their lastminute bets. such a lot of humans I knew. such a lot of humans I beloved. which ones… which ones was once no longer what he appeared? Pete gave me a leg up directly to Forlorn Hope's slim again, and that i waved to Kate, who was once status through the parade ring rails, and cantered down in the direction of the beginning. at the manner Dane got here previous speedily, turning his head in my path as he drew point. With chilly eyes he acknowledged, 'Blast you,' giving either phrases equivalent punch, and shook up his horse to break out from me and provides me no probability to answer. I enable him move. both he may recover from it or he would not; and in both case there wasn't a lot i'll do approximately it. there have been 11 runners within the race. We rotated around whereas the starter's assistant tightened girths and the starter himself known as the roll. Sandy requested his permission to dismount on the way to straighten his saddle, which had slipped forwards at the manner right down to the gate. The starter nodded, taking a look at his wristwatch and telling Sandy to not be too lengthy. this actual starter hated to begin his races past due and grew fidgety over each minor hold up. Sandy unbuckled the girths, pulling his saddle directly, and tightened it up back. i used to be staring at him rather than concentrating entirely on Forlorn desire, in order that what occurred was once solely my very own fault. An attendant flapped open lower than my horse's nostril the white flag which it was once his task to wave aloft, to sign to the stands that the horses have been approximately to begin. My eco-friendly younger hurdler took fright, reared up like a circus horse, twisted sideways, and threw me off. I hit the floor nearly flat on my again, winding myself, and that i observed Forlorn desire kick up his heels and leave at a wise velocity up the direction. For a couple of seconds I lay there attempting to get my breath again, and Sandy walked over together with his hand outstretched to assist me up, guffawing and making a few impolite feedback approximately my unexpected descent. the main notable dizziness without notice swept over me, and my senses started to play awesome methods. mendacity within the spring sunlight, I felt rain on my face. Winded yet uninjured, my physique was once momentarily invaded through surprising ache. In my whirling mind it appeared as though previous and current had develop into stressed, and that different occasions have been by some means taking place while. I stared up into Sandy's face. there has been the customary large gap-toothed grin, the fake incisors got rid of for protection; there have been the devil-may-care expression.

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