Authors: Terence Blacker
âI'd better get this stuff done,' he says, nodding at the chart in front of him. âD'you fancy going out later?'
I walk through the back yard, down a lane leading to the paddocks at the back.
There are three brood mares grazing in the afternoon sun.
Leaning on the gate, I give a low whistle.
One of them, a big grey, looks up. She is broader than she used to be, and her stomach shows the first signs of the foal growing within her. She holds her head high, ears pricked, and stands motionless for a moment, looking towards me.
Then she gives a low neigh of welcome.
I HAVE BEEN
exceptionally lucky in the writing of this book.
The great trainer Sir Mark Prescott was generous with his time and patience, allowing me to visit, nose around and ask impertinent questions at his yard in Newmarket. I am deeply grateful to Mark, to his assistant trainer William Butler, head lad Colin Nutter and to all the lads and staff at Heath House.
I would also like to thank Duncan Gregory at the British Racing School in Newmarket and Matt Mancini at the Racing Centre for their helpful advice and information.
Three books were particularly useful to me: Susan Gallier's
One of the Lads
(Stanley Paul, 1988), Rebecca Cassidy's
The Sport of Kings
(Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Elizabeth Mitchell's
The Strides Before the Wire
(Hyperion, New York, 2002). I am indebted to the TV production company Matchlight for their documentary
, which was first shown on Channel Four in 2014. Terry McNamee's informative 2013 blog âThe Tetrarch: England's Spotted Wonder' was of great help when I was researching Manhattan's bloodline.
My agent Caroline Sheldon has, as ever, been a source of tough good sense and encouragement; I'm truly a fortunate author to have had the benefit of her wisdom and drive throughout my career.
The team at Andersen Press have reminded me of how publishing should be. My brilliant editor Charlie Sheppard has been inspirational and clear-eyed in her vision for this book; I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for the insight, understanding and commitment she brought to this project, as I do to my old friend, and her boss, Klaus Flugge, Andersen's founder, sage and guiding light.
My thanks also go to Chloe Sackur and Sue Cook on the editorial side and, for her work on the cover and design, to Andersen's art director Kate Grove.
I have been hugely helped by three good friends â two professional writers and my former editor â who have read earlier drafts of this book, and have provided constructive criticism and encouragement. Warm thanks go to Tania Kindersley and Will Buckley, and also to Marion Lloyd who has been telling me I should write this book for many years. I hope she feels it was worth the wait.
The dedicatee of this book Paul Sidey was enthusiastic about the story from the moment I told him about it, and, despite being very ill, was characteristically generous and supportive while I was writing it. I wish he were here to see it in print.
Angela Sykes has been a perceptive, kind, creative presence from the first spark of the idea that became
to its final full stop. I thank her with all my heart.
Follyfoot farm is a home for rescued and unwanted horses, and the animals are cared for by the stable-hands Callie, Dora and Steve. There's plenty of work to be done around the farm, but there's still always time for the mysteries and adventures that happen at Follyfoot.
Visitors are welcome at the farm, but when two boys come snooping round and obviously aren't interested in the horses, Callie is suspicious. She's sure she recognises one of them. But where from? The mystery deepens and it's up to the young stable-hands to get to the bottom of it.
The long-awaited reissue of the novel that inspired a generation of horse-lovers!
âA writer of the highest quality with exceptional powers of insight.'
It was a mistake for Ben to tell the Hunter that there are still wolves in Surrey. For the Hunter is a fanatic, always on the lookout for unusual prey. Driven by an ambition to wipe out the last English wolves, the Hunter sets out on a savage quest. But what happens when the Hunter becomes the hunted?
âA disturbing book, but of real quality; you will applaud the end.'
âA Dickens of the future.'