The Case of the Racehorse Ringer

The Case of the Racehorse Ringer by Anthony Read

Book: The Case of the Racehorse Ringer by Anthony Read Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anthony Read
head.
    “No,” he said, “I won’t let Wiggins and Gertie drive my trap to Ally Pally.”
    “Oh please, Mr Gorman,” they pleaded all together. “
Please
. We’ll take good care of it, we promise. It’s the only way—”
    Mr Gorman held up his hand to stop them.
    “No,” he said firmly, interrupting them. “I won’t lend you my cart … I’ll drive you there myself. That way you’ll be sure to get in.”
    The Boys cheered. “Oh thank you,” said Rosie, throwing her arms around him and giving him a kiss on the cheek.
    “Anyway,” Mr Gorman went on with a smile, “my cap would be far too big for Wiggins. He’d look silly in it. Now listen,” he added, serious now. “I can only take two of you at the most. There’s no room for more, and besides, I couldn’t roll up at the gate with half a dozen rapscallions on my cart. It wouldn’t look right. So what are the rest of you going to do?”
    For a moment the Boys looked crestfallen. Then Queenie spoke up.
    “Dr Watson!” she cried. “He’ll take us. We can go with him.”
    “Good thinking, Queenie,” said Wiggins. “Gertie can go with Mr Gorman, ’cos Star knows her. And I’ll go too, ’cos it’s my plan.”
    “What about me?” asked Sparrow.
    “You need to be with the doctor, ’cos you know who the villains are. You can keep your eyes peeled for the major and Hoggy.”
    “And Fred,” said Sparrow.
    “And Moriarty,” added Beaver. “Don’t forget Moriarty.”
    “Right,” said Wiggins. “All of you’d better get round to 221b straight away. We’ll see you at Ally Pally.”
    “Extra milk delivery for the restaurant,” Mr Gorman told the gatekeeper. “They say they’re running short.”
    “I’m not surprised,” said the gateman. “We got a good crowd here today.”
    “All come to see Silver Star win the Prince’s Cup, I expect,” said Wiggins.
    “You’re right, young ’un. Must be thousands and thousands of pounds bet on him.”
    “Be funny if he lost,” Wiggins couldn’t resist adding cheekily.
    “Ha! Funny for the bookies right enough.” The gatekeeper grinned. “They’d like that – make a fortune, they would. Go on, you’d best get going if you want to deliver your milk and see the big race. Not long now till the off.”
    Mr Gorman twitched the reins and told Star to walk on, and they moved forward towards an enormous building that had to be the exhibition and entertainment centre, Alexandra Palace. The racecourse was further down the hill on the other side of the building, and when they turned the corner they could see it below them. The racetrack itself was a long loop of bright green turf with a white rail alongside it. Crowds of people lined the rail, jostling for a better view. Their excited shouts grew louder and louder, turning into cheers as a tight bunch of horses thundered past the winning post. Silver Star pricked up his ears and moved restlessly between the shafts of the milk cart, eager to be racing.
    “Look!” Mr Gorman pointed to the centre of the grandstand that overlooked the finishing post. “There’s the prince, in the royal box.”
    “Where?” Gertie asked. “Which one is he?”
    “The fat one,” said Mr Gorman. “With the pointy beard.”
    The prince stood in the centre of the crowded box surrounded by men in grey top hats and elegant women in silk dresses and large bonnets.
    “And there’s Inspector Lestrade,” said Wiggins. “Can you see him?”
    Lestrade was standing to one side, behind the prince.
    “He’s got his best uniform on,” said Gertie. “He don’t usually wear that, does he?”
    “No. Must be ’cos he’s on royal duty, protecting the prince.”
    “I don’t know how you’re going to get near him,” said Mr Gorman. “He’ll be sticking close to the prince, and the prince won’t leave the royal box.”
    Wiggins scratched his head, then his face lit up.
    “Oh yes he will,” he said. “He’s got to.”
    “When?”
    “When he presents the cup

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