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Mr. Gaffikin chimed in with "Mikado's a hot
favourite. Two to one on, all along the line!" Mikado
was Croplady's horse.

Mr. Gaffikin then tied the strings of rny cap in a
very tight bow; a bell jangled and a stentorian voice
shouted, "Now, then, gentlemen, I'm going down to
the post." The blue sky suddenly went white; my
heart bumped; I felt dazed and breathless. Then
Mr. Gaffikin's remote voice said, "Let me give you
a leg up, old chap93; I grabbed hold of the reins,
lifted an awkward foot, and was lifted airily on to the
slippery saddle: Cockbird gave one prance and then
stood still; Dixon was holding him firmly by the
head. Pressing my knees into the saddle I overheard
Mr. Gaffikin's ultimate advice. "Don't go in front
unless you can help it; but keep well with 9em" They
both wished me luck and released me to my destiny.

I felt as if I'd never been on Gockbird's back before;
everything around me appeared unreal and dis-
connected from all my previous experience. As I
followed Stephen out of the paddock in a sort of
equestrian trance, I caught sight of his father's face,
pale and fixed in its most strenuous expression; his
eyes followed his son, on wiiose departure he was too
intent to be able to take in anyone else. We filed
through a gate under some trees: "GentlemanGeorge"
was standing by the gate; he stared up at me as I
passed. "That's the 'oss for my money," was all that
he said, but his measured tone somehow brought me
to my senses, and I was able to look about me when
we got down to the starting place.

But even then I was much more a passenger than a
resolute rider with his wits about him to "pinch" a
good start. There were seven others. I kept close
to Stephen. We lined up uneasily; while the starter