The race was in full swing.
The crowd was cheering hopefully as heavy hooves thundered against the soft ground. They surged forward towards the barrier, craning their necks to watch as the field of heaving beasts rounded the final straight. Most of them gripped tight hold of their betting slips, cheering frantically as the tight herd sped past, inching ever closer to the finishing line.
But one man remained perfectly still – his eyes glued intently to his binoculars as he watched the stable progress down the field.
Tommy Haines had placed a lot of money on Anonymous Jury. Two thousand pounds was the price he was willing to stake on the new arrival to the racing scene. He didn’t bet each way – it was a straight up stake.
Win or lose.
That was how he operated.
He barely noticed the young man slip into the seat next to him – even when he did, he kept his eyes firmly glued on the racecourse down below. The race was in the closing stages – Anonymous Jury looked like she might just clinch it…
‘What is it, Harvey?’ he asked as he stared intently through the glass of his binoculars.
Harvey shuffled awkwardly next to him.
‘It’s Donnovan, sir,’ he said eventually. ‘The police finally got him. It’s all over.’
The race had ended.
A slight quiver of frustration shimmered through Haines’ hands as he lowered the binoculars in the disgust. He listened for a moment, waiting for confirmation of the result.
It was just as he thought…
’… Court of Obsessions in second and Anonymous Jury in third in what was a very, very tight race…’
He placed the binoculars in his pocket and turned back towards Harvey, who sat anxiously watching him.
‘So, the Bluebell Killer is caught?’
‘It would seem so, sir…’
Haines nodded slowly, the cogs of his mind slowly turning back and forth as an idea slowly began to formulate in the darkest recesses.
He slowly got to his feet and stared down at the paddock as the first three horses were led through to the jubilant cheers of their owners. At the back of the trio, Anonymous Jury’s coat glimmered in the midday sun, his breath visible in the air despite the humidity of the day…
That horse lost him a lot of money.
Haines buttoned up his jacket and placed a firm hand on Harvey’s shoulder, gripping the bone tightly as he stepped past him.
‘Never mind, Harvey,’ he said calmly. ‘These things happen.’