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Jump! by Jilly Cooper

Etta Bancroft - sweet, kind, still beautiful - adores racing and harbours a crush on one of its stars, the handsome high-handed owner-trainer Rupert Campbell-Black. When her bullying husband dies, Etta's selfish, ambitious son and daughter drag her from her lovely Dorset house to live in a hideous modern bungalow in the Cotswold village of Willowwood. Etta's life changes when, in the snow in the nearby woods, she finds a horribly mutilated filly, which she names Mrs Wilkinson and nurses back to health. The filly charms everyone in the village, then tests reveal her to be a spectacularly well-bred racehorse. After a nail-biting court case, Mrs Wilkinson is awarded to Etta, thus ensuring the lasting and vengeful enmity of her evil former trainer and owner. A village syndicate is formed to put the filly into training, consisting of a riotous mix of village characters, who set off to the races in a minibus clanking with bottles. Ridden by Rupert's delectable god-daughter, Amber, Mrs Wilkinson captivates vast crowds as she progresses from point-to-point races to major races and brings fame and fortune to the syndicate, until, at last, she is entered in the Grand National. Can she be the first mare in thirty years, and Amber the first woman ever, to conquer this mighty race?In Jump! you will meet rich capricious owners, obsessive trainers and gallant stable lads and lasses; you will get to know the tough, brave jockeys; and you will fall in love with the horses,and above all with Mrs Wilkinson herself - hilarious, heroic and so gutsy she will gallop into your heart forever.

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