The Mousetrap – part 1
Friday 4th November
11 am PT
As the cars drew up in front of the house, Eleanor came out, as always wearing her white apron over her crisply ironed blue coat dress, and smiled as Rick and Cassandra got out of the first car.
“Welcome home, Madame,” she said as the driver started to unload the cases, “I have the rooms prepared, and some refreshments are ready by the pool.
“It’s good to be back Eleanor,” Cassandra said as the children got out of the car, while Juliette and Klaus got out of the second car with Ingrid and Adam.
“When is the first race today,” Carina asked as she helped Judith get out of the car, Annie carrying Mags while Ingrid came to get Rudi.
“It is at three o’clock, your highness – I have arranged for a nanny to watch the children while you head there later.”
“Thank you,” Annie said, “they are a little too tired to go today, but they can be rested for tomorrow.”
“It’s a pity we could not come out yesterday,” Cassie said as they walked inside, “but I had that meeting to go to.”
“It’s all right, Cassie – I was discussing the arrangements for next week late last night anyway. We can still be there in time for the Juvenile chase…”
Santa Anita Racecourse
“Giovanni, what a pleasure it is to see you again,” Barbara said as she walked into the LerraBella hospitality suite, House pushing Jeannie in behind her.
“And to see you both,” Giovanni said with a smile. He, like House, was wearing a smart suit with a white shirt and tie. Jeannie was wearing a grey jacket over a blue slip dress, while Barbara had on a dark grey trouser suit over a red jumper. “I see you have another family member with you?”
“Indeed – Denise, this is Giovanni, the man in charge of New You. Giovanni, my sister Denise.”
“A pleasure,” Denise said with a giggle as Giovanni kissed her on the cheeks.
“So, we are sponsoring two races?”
“Indeed – and I know your group has interests in both, but I am also glad you were open to presenting the winners with their prizes as well.”
“All part of the deal,” Jeannie said, “I just hope Granddad isn’t too bored?”
“Oh? Where is John?”
“He got dragged down to the paddocks with the owners…”
“Why on earth did I agree to come down here with you,” John Bolden said as he stood with Pepsi and April.
“To make sure you pull us away when it becomes too much,” Pepsi giggled as he looked at her husband, Grant standing with Guy as he talked to his trainer, and Angel patted the shoulder of Baloosara.
“She looks ready,” Angel said with a smile as she looked round.
“I believe she is,” Guy said with a smile, “so go, relax, and prepare yourself my dear – the weigh in is at 2 pm.”
“Juliette darling – I see you have finally managed to make it.”
“Indeed – and we have a beautiful if cool day for it,” Klaus said as they removed their coats.
Angel holding up Tufty?" Juliette asked as she kissed her old friend on
"Pretty well darling,” Mandy said with a smile as she saw Pepsi come in with her family, “after that win at Longchamp I think she's convinced herself that win or lose she and the horse belong in this class of race."
"Henri was saying that he's not predicting a win, but that if she runs into a place he will be more than happy."
"I know Klaus," Will said as they shook hands, "and I think that has lessened the pressure on Angel a bit as well."
we turn to an expert?" Juliette smiled.
"Me an expert?" Marnie Brooke laughed lightly as she looked over. "Well, I watched her work yesterday morning and she still looks to me like a work in progress."
"Meaning what?" Carina asked.
that while she's a great little filly this year, I expect she will be even
better as a three year old."
"On that I agree," Grant joined the conversation, “with her pedigree look for her to be sensational over a mile and a mile and a quarter next year."
“Pepsi, darling,” Mandy said as she went over to the teenager, “how is everyone?”
“Well, you’ll see them when they get here in the next hour or so – but Holly still hasn’t talked to Tommy. There is other news however.”
“So I understand,” Mandy said as she walked over to greet Adam and Janice. “Congratulations, both for you – let me see the ring then…”
all the gang be here today?" Sherry asked Agnes as they sat at a table,
watching as their children went to the buffet.
I haven't got a clue," Agnes laughed, "but I like the way you
referred to the Sinners as 'the gang'."
was saying on the flight how even he now is starting to think we belong."
"It helps that so many of us are booked into the Beverley Hills Forum together."
"Well for that we can thank Francesca and Charlotte," Kay joined her friends, "they really have made this easy for everybody. Now if I can just get help picking out some winners."
"I'm up already thanks to a couple of tips from Sue for the undercard non Breeders Cup races,” Agnes smiled.
“Well, here we are again,” Erica said as she came in with Sam Lodge, “another gathering of the sinners!”
“And you all got the day off for it?”
“It’s a home study day,” Poppy giggled, “and so we’ve decided to study the form book here today.”
“And get others to place some best for us,” Jess said as they all took a seat round a table with Mel. “So how does it feel to get out of the city?”
“Do you guys do this a lot?”
“Depends on the occasion,” Poppy said, “but I hear Sebring, and possibly Le Mans, are on the calendar this year for the racing team already.”
“Plus, watch out what happens if Spain draw Scotland in the under-17’s Ladies European Cup,” Erica laughed as she looked over to see Ama come in with Caroline.
“True, very true – I’m going to have a look at the cards,” Poppy said as she stood up.
“I’ll come with you,” Erica said as they walked to a corner of the room, and looked at the screens.
“So what do you think,” Poppy finally said.
“What do I think? I think you’ve looked distracted all week Poppy, what’s going on?” Erica finally asked the question that had been on her mind for a couple of days.
“Have I looked distracted?” Poppy said as she looked round.
“Yes you have,” Erica whispered, “and don’t say it’s because you’ve been busy working after school, because normally that never ever effects your moods…so spill?”
Sighing, Poppy said quietly “I’m just worried that I played a role in the whole mess with Capricorn and Allison by what I did and said back at the Kentucky Derby. Knowing we were coming here to the races has sort of focused things in my mind.”
“I think a few of us have been thinking the same thing,” Erica said quietly, “HOTS was a huge mistake in so many ways.”
“We didn’t realize what we might be doing, and perhaps we should have.”
“Have you talked to your Mom?”
“No, but I’ve been tempted, what about you Bones?”
“No – but we do need to talk together,” Erica said as she saw the Clark family come in. “See if we can gather together after the race.”
“So what tactics would you be telling Angel she needs to employ Francesca?” John Vosloo asked as she looked up from the Daily Racing Form.
“In such a short race is there such a thing as tactics?” Alex Green asked.
“There are,” the Marchesa paused for a second to look at a couple of horses. “I’ve seen each of Baloosara’s races and one thing is certain that she needs to be held up till late in the race and then given the chance to use that incredible acceleration and come and win her race.”
“So Angel keeps her close to the front, then at the last possible second presses the go button?”
“And will that work?”
“That’s the million dollar question Alex,” Francesca smiled, “and until the race is run all we can do is guess and speculate. But from what I’ve seen, Angel and the mare have a very special relationship, so we shall see what happens.”
“I think with her odds looking they will be about 14-1 that there is value in backing her to win, place, and show.” Piet looked up at the huge flashing tote boards.
“Agreed. Where is that husband of yours Alex,” Marianne asked.
“He said he had to make a phone call.”
Peter Hope looked at the group of old friends, and then spoke quietly.
“You’ve landed safely? Good – I’ll see you later tonight. I pray I’m wrong, Hennie, but I think I’m right…”
“David – you and Sally made it,” Mary said as she kissed her elder brother on the cheek.
“Yeah – well, we had some help,” he said as The House went over to see Jeannie, while Trina Carver hugged Abby. “Can you give me a minute, sis – need to talk to the younger generation.”
“I’ve heard some stories,” Sally said as she watched David walk over to where Allison and Tracy were talking to some of the other girls. “Any truth to what I’m hearing?”
“Don’t ask – but he won’t be too long…”
“David – how are the studies going,” Suzie said as she greeted her brother.
“Going well – can I talk to you two please – over here?”
Allison and Tracy nodded as they went into the corner, wondering what he was going to say. David looked round, and then turned his back to the others, his face suddenly very serious.
“What the hell has been going on?” David said quietly, “Sally was just telling me there are some nasty rumours circulating. I thought Dad had told you both to behave?”
“Hey why get on my case?” Vicky looked very offended, “I’ve done nothing at all.”
“It’s all my fault,” Allison said in a little voice. “I’ve been stupid David, but I swear I’ve learned my lesson.”
“Yeah,” Allison said as she looked round, “Mary and Capricorn’s Mom talked to us, and then Laura and Miley – they’re Agnes McAdam’s kids - pointed a few things out…I’ve been pretty stupid.”
“No I’ve been stupid, you’ve been insane little sister,” Vicky changed tone.
“So is this all about you and boys?” David looked puzzled for a second.
“Yeah,” Allison took a breath, “that thing at Pocono at the car races, well I’ve done a lot of other things I now know I shouldn’t have.”
“Do I want to know?”
“No, big bro – all you need to know is that I have learned my lesson, and it’s not going to happen again.”
David looked at the two girls, and then nodded as he said “okay – I’m trusting you both, but don’t forget I’m not that far away, all right?”
“Well this is a stellar gathering.”
Yvonne looked round to see a well-dressed, grey haired man standing behind them. "Bill, I thought you'd be too busy in the stables looking after your runner in the last race to get up here?" she finally said as she kissed her brother.
"Oh I can afford to take a few minutes and come see my sister and her family I think," William Hyde-Andrews said with a smile as he kissed Lady Leventhal in return. "And I need to congratulate the mother-to-be."
"Thank you," Bobbi blushed as he kissed her on the cheek.
Uncle Bill," Simon smiled as they shook hands.
"Do I need to pencil a wedding date?"
"When we can work one out," Colin looked amused, "getting married has suddenly become very popular among our friends, and we need find a time no one else has taken yet."
the trainer nodded to a couple of people he knew in the room.
turning to the topic-de-jour brother dear, what is your opinion on Baloosara in
the race after next?"
outpaced my filly at Longchamp, which is why we didn't bring her here, I was
very impressed that day."
think she has a chance?" Simon asked.
can go on the dirt, then I think she has an excellent each way chance."
"That's nice to hear William," Guy smiled as he joined the conversation.
“Guy, you old rogue – is the fair Valeria here?”
“She is indeed – talking to her family over there,” he said with a smile as he nodded to where Valeria, Diana, Abigail and Natasha were sitting.
“So tomorrow – want to have a side bet on the result?”
“Not this time, old friend,” Guy said as he smiled and shook his head, “I wish to see how our horses shape up, side by side, in a battle of like with like.”
“Spoken like a true horseman,” Sir William said as he clapped Guy’s back.
Sands turned and smiled as she saw Katy standing there, wearing a powder blue trouser suit and a black blouse. The teenager was wearing a blue dress with capped sleeves and black heels. “Hey yourself,” she said with a smile, “seen any of the others?”
“Some of them – where’s Holly?”
“She actually stayed in New York – at the advice of Uncle Alex. I spoke to her before we flew down yesterday, and she said she was doing the right thing. At least… At least I don’t have to worry about her now.”
“You spoke to Mom?”
“And Aunt Brooke – they say she’ll be all right. So who else is here?”
“We’re going to get together after the next race, have a little chat…”
“I take it your mom and dad are on the campaign trail all weekend,” Abby said as she sat with Jo and Bobbi.
“Yeah – it was their idea I come here with the Rosenthals,” the brunette said with a smile, “spend some time away from that stress.”
“In a different sort of stress,” Jo said with a laugh. “So how are you feeling?”
“I’m okay now – once everything was out in the open,” Bobbi said as she sipped her Sprite, “it was more of a relief than anything. Like going to the dentist – you have to do it, and it’s never quite as bad as it appeared to be.”
“”I can speak to the truth of that,” Abby said, “especially when Mamma has her operation.”
She looked over to where Diana was sitting at a table, talking quietly to Francesca and Ingrid. “I was so scared when she went into the hospital, to see her so helpless for the first time in my life…”
“But she is recovering,” Jo said as she put her hand on Abby’s, “and that is the main thing. And she does seem to be stronger for it…”
“Forgive me – are you Diana, Countess de Ros?”
Diana looked up to see a tall gentleman standing next to her, dressed in an Italian suit with a blue pinstripe shirt and a dark silk tie. “I am afraid you have the advantage of me sir,” Diana said quietly as she looked at him.
“I know, and I apologise – but you probably do not remember me. I’m Henri.”
“Henri? I do not…” Diana’s eyes suddenly opened wide as she said “Henri? Henri de Roi?”
“The very same – may I sit?”
“Of course – but I thought you never ventured from your home?”
“I do not – normally – but I have to be in the city on business, and I called Roger – he told me you would be here with the party, so I decided to – well, gatecrash. You look well – all things considered.”
“I grow stronger each new day – but I heard you were married?”
“Ah – I was, it ended some years ago. I have seen some of the photographs of you, though, and your daughter – a true beauty.”
“Thank you – so tell me something of yourself…”
“It’s getting close to race time,” Grace said as she looked at the clock, and then a frown crossed her face. As her flatmates followed her gaze, and saw the unshaven man looking in, they said “oh lord – I thought he had gone.”
“So did I,” Grace said as she stood up, only for a man to put his hand on her shoulder and say “no – allow me.”
“I am sure,” George Simpson said as he straightened his tie, and walked slowly over to the doorway, smiling as he said “this is a private party, sir – I am afraid I must ask you to leave.”
“Not until I have a chance to talk to my wife,” Bruce Brand said, his words slurred as he looked into the room.
“No – you come with me now,” George said quietly as he escorted Bruce to the outer doors, Missy and Rhenia opening them and letting both men pass.
“Who was that,” Missy said as she walked over to Juliette.
“Trouble – George can deal with it… Well, well, well.”
“A friendly face from the past for Diana, I hope…”
sorry...so sorry," Grace looked pained, "I hadn't realised that
bastard would follow me here."
you apologizing darling," Mandy drawled as they watched the racecourse
security people arrive and talk to George, before they escorted Bruce out,
"he's the one in the wrong...not you?"
but I guess I'm just embarrassed that happened, and that they all know I was
married to him."
him ruin your weekend Grace," Harriet put an arm round her friend.
Harriet," Caroline said as she passed her mother’s old friend a glass of
champagne, "let's all just relax, and enjoy ourselves."
Caroline," Grace smiled as she took the offered glass. "I guess I'm a
near as tense as my daughter I suspect," Mandy smiled.
"No at least I'm not riding in front of this crowd."
what am I doing here?" Angel found herself thinking as she stood with
Andre and Guy as they gave her last minute instructions, wearing her racing
remember, my darling Angel, that win or lose, qualifying for this race and
getting here is in itself a triumph," Guy smiled, "whatever happens
out there is a bonus."
the model/jockey nodded as she looked round.
"Just get her settled quickly like we said, and when you see your chance try taking it," the trainer spoke.
"So how do you think she's feeling Claire?" Willie Carson asked his co-commentator.
and excited all at once. I know I was when I faced a similar situation."
known her most of her life, scratch that glamorous exterior is a true
horsewoman, as well as a Yorkshire girl with lots of grit...She will be
"Two minutes and you are on guys," the producer shouted from behind the cameras.
“Okay then,” Willie said as he adjusted his tie, “here we go…”
As the light on the camera went green, Claire smiled and said “Welcome back to our coverage of the Breeders Cup meet – and the next race is the LerraBella Juvenile Sprint over six furlongs. A lot of interest in this race is on Baloosara, owned and trained by the Duc du Grechy, and written by the horsewoman and model Angel Fitzstuart. I talked to her earlier today…”
The scene changed to the jockey’s room, Angel sitting there in a jumper and jodhpurs as Claire sat opposite her.
“Angel, can you talk us through how a model became a jockey for the Duc du Grechy?”
“It was a total surprise to me as well, Claire,” Angel said with a smile as she sat back. “As you know, my first love is dressage, but – and I always apologise to my agent for this – I have also ridden some horses for both the Duc and also the trainer of SaintsandSinnerz. At any rate, one day Guy asked if I would ride this filly he had been working with, but had a little problem.”
“And that problem was?”
Angel chuckled as she said “turned out she wasn’t very happy having a male rider. So I ran her out, and – well, she is a very powerful young filly, who just needed a rider who understood her. The next thing I knew, I was riding Ballosara in a race, and things went on from there.”
“So how have you managed to combine riding with your modelling work?”
“With some difficulty- but fortunately, my sponsors have also agreed to sponsor Ballosara, so they are working with me on this now.”
“And the world of dressage?”
“Perhaps I can train this horse as well,” Angel said with a smile.
“Well, good luck in the race today,” Claire said as the screen began to change.
go," Andre said as he lifted Angel into the saddle. She adjusted her seat before putting her feet
into the stirrups and looking round.
remember that you are number 7," Valeria smiled, "you follow number 6
out for the parade and stay there till you head to the start."
know," Angel laughed as she found the lead horse that would guide her
under the stands and out on to the track.
calm, and don't let her get anxious," Guy smiled as well as he patted
the filly on her hind quarters.
"I'll try." She leaned over and whispered “We’ll keep each other calm, won’t we girl?”
“And most important of all,” Guy said with a smile, “have fun!”
time," Francesca whispered as the trumpeters played the traditional call,
and she saw the horses start to come out.
"You sound as nervous as if you owned her yourself," Alex spoke.
"I know,” Francesca said with a smile, “and I'm even worse when it’s one of my own horses."
"Well I put all our bets on," Marianne said as she came back into the suite and waved a pile of tickets.
"She's come in to 8-1," John looked up at the boards.
"Must be the weight of money going on from your friends," Peter commented.
also be a lot of people seeing how fit she looks though," Marianne looked
down through her binoculars, "she does look well."
so does Loyala the favourite," her husband spoke.
and I know that the Godolphin owned runners usually run well John
listening to Sue Gresham-Fox," Piet joined the conversation, "and she
liked the look of Conversation Princess, and Night Dreamer."
"And I overheard African Charm's owners sounding quietly confident," Itsy took a drink from Charlotte.
“So it should be a close and exciting race,” Francesca said as the horses and riders went past, heading to the start…
“Jeannie, my dear,” Giorgio said with a smile, “we should begin to make our way to the winner’s enclosure, so that you may present the trophy.”
“Of course,” Jeannie said as House began to push her towards the door…
"So purely on breeding who do you like Grant?" Roy asked as he stood next to his friend as the watched the horses parade in front of the stands.
Grant nodded as he watched them go by. "Rebelleeyus is beautifully bred..."
"I know, I bred both her dam, and grand dam," Roy interrupted."
Okanaga has some interesting blood lines."
"I think she's well held on form by Loyala though," George looked at the race program.
"I still think both - purely on their breeding, I’d like to own them as brood mares in years to come," Grant sighed, "but I'm not sure even given Saintz's successes I'll ever be able to afford my own stud."
"Never say never," Roy looked at Kelsa for a moment looked as though she was about to unseat her rider. “That does not look good.”
“Unlike our girl,” Grant said as Angel rode by and smiled.
The line of horses approached the starting gates, Angel leaning over and whispering “all right, girl, trust me just as much as I trust you” before they were led in, the gates shutting behind them as she slipped her goggles down over her eyes.
“That’s them all in,” Guy said as he looked down the course, smiling as he counted down “three… Two… One…”
“And They’re Off,” the commentator shouted over the PA as the horses were released from the cages, galloping as a tight group down the course. Angel was surprised at the three furlong mark to find herself in third place, behind Loyala and Night Dreamer, and then she saw a gap to the right of the favourite.
“Ready girl,” she whispered as she urged Baloosara on and veered slightly to the right…
“And as they come into the last furlong Baloosara is making her move, Baloosara has taken Night Dreamer and is neck and neck with Loyala. African Charm is coming on strong but it’s Baloosara and Loyala still neck and neck, as they cross the line…”
“Could you separate them,” Grant said to George, the older man shaking his head as the announcer said “we have a photo finish, ladies and gentlemen, in the LerraBella Juvenile Stakes. I can confirm third was Night Dreamer, and fourth was African Charm, but…”
The Saints and Sinners held their breath as Angel rode back with Loyala…
“And the stewards have given their verdict – Baloosara is first by a nose from Layola, Night Dreamer in third…”
WON!" Will turned and swept Mandy up in a hug as the room cheered.
darling," Mandy laughed lightly, smiling as she tried to regain a little
dignity as he put her down again.
"You know I was far from sure about all this when Guy tried his little experiment,” Will said as he looked round his family, “but he really did know what he was doing."
"He did Dad," Jack looked up from trying to open up a fresh bottle of champagne, "my sister and Baloosara seem to have a real empathy.”
for sure," Pepsi beamed.
“You can be
very proud of her Bro," Donald put an arm round his brother.
we can all be very proud of her, and I'll be able to put what I've won gambling
to great use at the school" Agnes tried calculating her winnings in her
remember that the US taxation people will want some of your winnings Aunt
Aggie," David popped open a second bottle of champagne, "unlike back
home gambling winnings here are counted as income."
"I know - dammit."
“Don’t worry darling,” Donald said as he hugged his fiancée, “we’ll still make sure they get what they deserve…”
“Once again, my father shows why he is such a good judge of a horse,” Diana said with a smile as Juliette handed her a glass of champagne.
“Indeed – so who was the handsome older devil you were talking to earlier?”
“What handsome…” Diana then did something Abby had never seen – she blushed as she said “that… That was Henri.”
“And Henri is… Oh my goddess, HENRI?”
“Indeed – he has changed a lot, but then, so have I…”
“Do one of you want to tell a confused daughter what you are talking about,” Abby asked with a smile.
“I knew Henri when Juliette and I were students at the Sorbonne,” Diana said as she sat back, a faraway look in her eyes, “he was a – very special friend, but then I met your father, and…
“At any rate, he surprised me as well – but I sense the hands of my brothers in this…”
Angel was sitting on her horse, patting her gently on the shoulder as she said “see – we get to show the men what it’s all about,” then smiling as she handed the reins to the young jockey who led her into the winner’s enclosure. As she came in, she saw Henri, Guy and Valeria waiting, as she dismounted and removed her saddle, one of the attendants putting a blanket over Baloosara with “LERABELLA JUVENILE SPRINT WINNER 2016” on the sides.
“Truly a magnificent race – my congratulations,” Guy said as he hugged Angel and kissed her on both cheeks. “You should be very proud of yourself.”
“I am in a strange way – but Missy was watching, wasn’t she?”
“You worry about her later,” Valeria said with a smile, “you need to go to the weighing room and change, then you can join us upstairs.”
“I’ll see you up there,” Angel said as she patted Baloosara, and then walked off with her saddle.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, to present the trophy, please welcome Giovanni Mancini, Director of LerraBella cosmetics, accompanied by the face of New You cosmetics, Miss Jeannie Brewster.”
The crowd round the ring applauded as House pushed Jeannie out alongside Giovanni, then stood to the side as they waited by the table.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please show your appreciation to the owner of Baloosara, Guy, Duc du Grechy, and to his trainer Henri Deschamps.”
Guy and Henri walked forward, acknowledging the applause as Giovanni handed Jeannie the bronze sculpture.
“It gives me great pleasure to present you with the winner’s trophy,” Jeannie said as she handed Guy the trophy, “and to congratulate you on the win.”
“Thank you, my dear,” Guy said as he leaned over and kissed Jeannie on both cheeks, then shook Giovanni’s hand as he was handed an envelope. Henri did the same, before they posed for photographs as the press clicked away.
are your plans for her Your Grace?" a British journalist asked as they
she's entered in both the 1,000 Guineas, and the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches
for next year,” Guy said with a smile as he handed the trophy to Valeria, “and
we will I suspect have to decide over the winter which race we will aim her
have no plans to race her in the US?" an American asked.
"Not for the immediate future, but of course a return to the Breeders Cup next year is a definite possibility." Guy said as he nodded at a French writer.
"It is no secret you have long had an ambition to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Your Grace - do you see her as a horse who can do that?"
"One can hope, but if we are being honest her pedigree suggests that 2000 metres, or a mile and a quarter will be her longest distance. Everything will depend on how she comes out of the winter, we still think she has a little maturing to do."
continue to let Angel Fitzstuart ride her,” another reporter called out, “or
will you consider a professional jockey?"
"Angel is totally professional," Guy smiled, "and yes she may only have ridden a couple of winners in her career so far, but I have total confidence in her abilities. We will come to that decision in due course, but the fact she is in the weighing room, rather than here with us, speaks to her professionalism."
darling, can I first congratulate you on riding such a well-judged race,"
William Hyde-Andrews smiled as he fought his way through the throng in the
weighing room and kissed her on both cheeks.
Uncle Bill," she beamed.
is a long way from riding a couple of winners for me at places like Thirsk and
Ayr isn't it?"
little," the model reflected, "but I have to say your confidence in
me in giving me some rides really helped me believe in myself. I think at last
I'm beginning to believe I can ride races."
that note can I raise my second point," the trainer took a deep breath,
"the doctors have stood Jimmy down for the rest of the afternoon because
of that fall he took earlier, do you want the ride on Kinger in the last
race...You've ridden him at home, and I’m happy putting you on his back if you
want the ride."
you don't think I'll let you down?"
we'd killed that self-doubt," the trainer smiled broadly, "no I
talked to Mr al Salim and he's more than happy about you replacing Jimmy in
"Alright," Angel took a breath, "give me a chance to go chat with a couple of people, but then yes I'll ride."
"Yeah, both the media and your family want a few words I'm sure...I'll see you back here in 30 minutes?"
"That suits me Uncle Bill," Angel said as she made her way back out – only to be stopped by Willie Carson.
“Take a moment,” the former jockey said as the cameraman got into position, and then he said “Angel, how does it feel to be the winning jockey at a Breeders Cup race?”
“Well – it’s just an amazing feeling to actually win the race, but to do it here is very special indeed,” Angel said with a smile. “I never dreamed I could be in this position.”
“I have to say, you got the tactics just about right – what was going through your mind in that last furlong?”
“To be honest, to do the best I could – as I said, winning was a dream to me.”
“We’ve just had word you are going to be an emergency replacement for the last race. What do you think of your chances for that race?”
“To finish will be enough.”
“Angel Fitzstuart, thanks for talking to Channel 4…”
“You lost out a little there Susan,” Colin Gresham-Fox said as he stood with his wife.
“Not really – the bet was win, place and show, and I put an accumulator on as well, so I come out ahead. I knew it would be a close run race.”
“Did we miss something?”
“Mother, Father – we didn’t know you were coming,” Colin said as he greeted Sir Charles and Lady Roberta.
“Surprise – we felt we had to get out of Washington this weekend, with the boil about to be lanced,” Bobbi said as she kissed Susan. “How are you my dear?”
“All the better for seeing you,” Susan said as she put her arm round Colin, “saves us a phone call to pass on some news to you.”
“Oh? And what news would that be? Don’t tell me I’m going to be…” Bobbi looked at her daughter-in-law, and then said “how long?”
“About eight weeks – so this may be my only trip to the US for a while, on doctor’s advice. But we’re not the only ones with news – let me bring you up to speed on the gossip…”
“Sandra – come, sit with us for a moment,” Shirley said as she saw her old friend come in with Maddie and Emma.
“I hear we missed a Fitzstuart win,” Maddie said with a smile, “where is she?”
“Apparently she has been delayed – Mandy and Will have taken the boys to meet her briefly. So – have you seen the sketches?”
“Oh yes – very nice,” Sandra said with a smile, “and I heard you’ve decided to step back a little?”
“Yes I have – or rather, give my three trusted lieutenants the authority they deserve,” Shirley said with a smile. “Did you see John?”
“I did – and he said he would be honoured.”
“Well that answers the great unanswered question on your side,” Maddie said with a smile.
“And that is,” Maisha asked.
“Who gets to play the part of Father of the Bride, of course…”
“THERE you are darling,” Mandy said as she and Will saw Angel coming out of the weighing room. Their daughter grinned – a broad, bright smile as she ran over and hugged both of them.
“How does it feel to be a winner,” Will said as he looked at her.
“I AM a winner, daddy,” Angel laughed, “but it is a truly fantastic feeling. Did Uncle Bill find you?”
“He did,” Mandy said, “so be prepared for a huge celebration when you come up to the room eventually.”
“I think I might sleep for hours after this,” Angel said quietly, “so go on – what did Missy say?”
“She says congratulations,” Jack said as he and David came over, “and she will talk to you later.”
“Oh – what about,” Angel asked warily.
“Your own personal idea of heaven,” David said with a grin, “she said to mention US Equestrian and if you might want to consider an endorsement?”
“Would I? Oh I’ll talk to them about that,” Angel said with a smile, “but I need to get back in and change. Hold the champagne for me!”
As she ran back into the room, Jack and David looked at each other, both shaking their heads…
“We’ve decided to go down to the mounting ring to wish Angel good luck,” Jan called over as Frances let go of her mother, “coming?”
“Give us a few moments,” Eleanor said with a smile as they left the room, and she turned to the others.
will be riding for Mohammed al Salim Mama, do you know him?" Charlotte
asked as she put Frances back in her baby sling.
“I know of
him," Francesca replied cautiously.
from the UAE with reportedly very strong ties to a lot of important people in
the region," Piet spoke softly, "rumours are that a lot of people use
him as a middle man when they don't want it known they are talking to each other.
Or at least that's what I hear. Your Mother with all her contacts and sources
may know differently Babe?"
put it this way darling,” Francesca said quietly, “we have an extensive, and
thick, file on him at La Citadella headquarters."
"All that though
is irrelevant today however," Eleanor spoke, "he's here to indulge
his passion for racing, so are we all, and 'business' can be forgotten."
that we all agree," Francesca laughed gaily.
"Okay what are you not saying Mama?" Charlotte thought to herself, "that was a La Bionda Idiota moment...what are you hiding?"