Read Mount! Online

Authors: Jilly Cooper

Mount!

About the Book

In Jilly Cooper’s latest, raciest novel, Rupert Campbell-Black takes centre stage in the cut-throat world of flat racing.

Rupert is consumed by one obsession: that Love Rat, his adored grey horse, be proclaimed ‘Leading Sire’, or rather champion stallion. He is determined to trounce Roberto’s Revenge, the stallion owned by his detested rival Cosmo Rannaldini, which means abandoning his racing empire at Penscombe and his darling wife Taggie, and chasing winners in the richest races worldwide, from Dubai to Los Angeles to Melbourne.

Luckily, the fort at home is held by Rupert’s assistant Gav, a genius with horses, fancied by every stable lass, but damaged by alcoholism and a vile wife. When Gala, a grieving but ravishing Zimbabwean widow moves to Penscombe as carer for Rupert’s wayward father, it is not just Gav who is drawn to her. A returning Rupert finds himself dangerously attracted.

Gala adores horses, and when she switches to working in the yard, her carer’s job is taken by a devastatingly handsome South African man who claims to be gay but seems far keener on caring for the angelic Taggie. And as increasingly sinister acts of sabotage strike at Penscombe, the game of musical loose boxes gathers apace . . .

Contents
MOUNT!
JILLY COOPER

To dear Amanda Butler, who
by her sweet nature, sense of fun
and unbelievable efficiency has
transformed my life.

CAST OF CHARACTERS IN 1786
R
UPERT
B
LACK
A bloodstock expert and awfully amusing adventurer.
T
HE
F
OURTH
B
ARON
R
UTSHIRE
A lecherous old peer, owning much of the county, including Rutminster Racecourse.
T
HE
H
ON
. J
AMES
N
ORTHFIELD
Lord Rutshire’s scholarly reclusive elder son.
T
HE
H
ON
. G
ISELA
N
ORTHFIELD
Ex-kitchenmaid and James’ very new wife.
T
HE
H
ON
. R
UFUS
N
ORTHFIELD
Lord Rutshire’s younger son, hard man to hounds, hellraiser, inseparable crony of Rupert Black and far more suited to run the estate.
 
THE ANIMALS
S
WEET
A
ZURE
Rupert Black’s blue roan mare.
S
PARTAN
James Northfield’s dark-brown gelding.
S
EEKER
James Northfield’s white mastiff.
T
HIRD
L
EOPARD
A super-stallion, winner of the St Leger and Leading Sire.
CAST OF PRINCIPAL CONTEMPORARY CHARACTERS
S
HEIKH
A
BDUL
B
ADDI
Qatari big hitter, newly obsessed with racing and snapping up star horses.
W
OODY
A
DAMS
Delectable Willowwood tree surgeon. Live-in lover of Canon Niall Forbes.
E
DDIE
A
LDERTON
Rupert Campbell-Black’s American grandson, known as Young Eddie. Gilded brat, poster boy and former flat jockey trying his luck at jump racing, Eddie is also trying to stay faithful to his girlfriend, Trixie Macbeth.
P
ARIS
A
LVASTON
Dora Belvedon’s boyfriend. Ice-cool Adonis simultaneously reading Classics at Cambridge and forging a highly successful acting career.
S
ETH
B
AINTON
Unscrupulous, drop-dead gorgeous, middle-aged actor known as Mr Bulging Crotchester and the estranged father of Trixie Macbeth’s forthcoming baby.
M
ARTIN
B
ANCROFT
An appalling fundraising creep.
B
RUTE
B
ARRACLOUGH
A dodgy racehorse trainer, who gets a lot of extra-marital sex.
R
OSARIA
B
ARRACLOUGH
Brute’s sweet, bullied, endlessly cheated-on wife, whose hard work and gift with horses holds his yard together.
H
ARMONY
B
ATES
Excellent but extremely large Valhalla stable lass, more adored by horses than the opposite sex.
D
ORA
B
ELVEDON
Eighteen-year-old smart cookie, besotted with dogs, horses and Paris Alvaston. Multi-tasks as press officer for Mrs Wilkinson and ghost-writer for both Rupert Campbell-Black and a goat called Chisolm.
J
AMES
B
ENSON
A smooth and very expensive private doctor.
L
ESTER
B
OLTON
Internet tycoon specializing in porn, living in Willowwood and as short on inches as he is on charm.
C
INDY
B
OLTON
Lester’s child bride, an extremely successful porn star and sometime racehorse owner.
W
ALTER
B
RANDON
Rupert’s Head Lad, in charge of Rupert’s yard. Known as Walter Walter because he shoves his nose in everywhere.
S
AM
B
RIDLINGTON
Chairman of Panel at the British Racing Association enquiry.
R
UPERT
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
Hugely successful owner, trainer, breeder, who bestrides the racing world like a colossus. Despite being as bloody-minded as he is beautiful, still Nirvana for most women.
T
AGGIE
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
His second wife, an angel.
B
IANCA
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
Rupert and Taggie’s ravishing Colombian adopted daughter, best friend of Dora Belvedon, girlfriend of rising football star, Feral Jackson.
X
AVIER
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
Rupert and Taggie’s adopted Colombian son – a point-to-point rider.
E
DDIE
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
Rupert’s increasingly dotty father, known as Old Eddie. Five times married and sexual buccaneer of the old school.
A
DRIAN
C
AMPBELL
-B
LACK
Rupert’s younger brother, who runs a New York art gallery. Boyfriend of Baby Spinosissimo.
J
EMMY
C
ARTER
Apprentice jockey and Penscombe stable lad, lacks ambition despite huge potential.
C
ELESTE
A lazy, malevolent, manipulative but extremely pretty Penscombe stable lass.
C
OLIN
C
HALFORD
(Mr Fat and Happy)
A very nice rich man looking for love.
C
LOVER
Penscombe’s youngest stable lass.
M
AJOR
N
ORMAN
C
UNLIFFE
Retired bank manager and pompous ass, treasurer of Willowwood syndicate who formerly owned Mrs Wilkinson.
M
ANU DE LA
T
OUR
Charismatic French jockey.
V
ALENT
E
DWARDS
Etta Bancroft’s brusque, but intensely kind and charismatic, new husband. Man of the people and ex-Premier League footballer, his hawk-like goalkeeper eyes have found gaps in every market, making him a major player on the world financial stage.
E
TTA
E
DWARDS
A poppet – very newly married to Valent Edwards, and the original rescuer and now owner of Grand National winner, Mrs Wilkinson.
C
ANON
N
IALL
F
ORBES
Formerly vicar of Willowwood and Woody Adams’ boyfriend.
M
RS
F
ORD
-W
INTERS
Geoffrey’s owner. Resident of Ashbourne House, a Rutshire care home.
G
EE
G
EE
Gentle giantess and Junoesque Penscombe stud hand, worshipped by Meerkat.
G
ERALDINE
Rupert’s PA who’d like to be the next Mrs Campbell-Black. A bitch.
M
ARTI
G
LUCKSTEIN
Rupert’s lawyer.
C
ATHAL
G
OGAN
Rupert’s travelling Head Lad, in charge of horses the moment they leave the yard.
S
IMMY
H
ALLIDAY
Rupert’s Estate Manager.
D
AME
H
ERMIONE
H
AREFIELD
World-famous diva, and Cosmo Rannaldini’s mother, seriously tiresome, brings out the Crippen in all.
L
ADY
H
AWKLEY
(H
ELEN
)
Mother of Marcus and Tabitha Campbell-Black. A nervy beauty. Having numbered Rupert and Roberto Rannaldini as former husbands, Helen hoped marriage to ex-headmaster and classical scholar, David Hawkley, would mean calmer waters but they seem to have drifted apart.
H
ANJI
H
IROSHI
Leading Japanese jockey.
P
AT
I
NGLIS
Penscombe’s essentially kind and phlegmatic Stallion Master.
H
AMMOND
J
OHNSON
Leading American jockey.
G
AVIN
L
ATTON
Rupert Campbell-Black’s work rider, a genius with horses, marred by alcoholism exacerbated by the contemptuous infidelity of his wife, Bethany.
B
ETHANY
L
ATTON
A beautiful bitchy nymphomaniac.
J
ANEY
L
LOYD
-F
OXE
Billy Lloyd-Foxe’s widow, a totally unprincipled journalist on the hunt for a new husband.
I
SA
L
OVELL
A brilliant obsessive trainer and ex-champion jockey – a Heathcliff of the gallops, now in sinister partnership with Cosmo Rannaldini, with a yard and a stud at Valhalla doing alarmingly well.
M
ARTY
L
OVELL
Isa’s very boyish Australian second wife.
R
OMAN
L
OVELL
Isa and Marty’s eighteen-year-old son, a jockey.
A
LAN
M
ACBETH
Etta Edwards’ beguiling son-in-law, author of
Wilkie
, a hugely successful biography of Mrs Wilkinson.
T
RIXIE
M
ACBETH
Extremely pretty and very bright teenage granddaughter of Etta Edwards. Estranged from Seth Bainton, the caddish middle-aged father of her forthcoming baby. Trixie is trying to form a relationship with the seriously wayward Eddie Alderton.
H
EREWARD
/H
ERRY
M
ACBETH
Trixie’s baby son, known as Hereward the Awake.
L
OUISE
M
ALONE
Very pretty Penscombe stable lass, known as Lou-easy because of her freedom with her favours.
M
ARKETA
A gorgeous, voluble, volatile, voluptuous Penscombe stable lass from the Czech Republic who adores horses and the opposite sex.
T
EDDY
M
ATTHEWS
Hong Kong jockey nearing retirement.
T
ARQUIN
(T
ARQUI
) McG
ALL
Joint First Jockey to Cosmo Rannaldini and Isa Lovell. The go-to jockey for the big occasion, Tarqui goes every which way sexually.
A
SHLEY
(A
SH
) McI
NTYRE
Isa Lovell’s chillingly ruthless stable jockey, a post shared with Tarqui McGall. Rupert refers to the gay Ashley and the bisexual Tarqui as ‘Sodom and Begorrah’.
M
ICHAEL
M
EAGAN
Penscombe work rider and sometime stud hand known as Roving Mike.
M
EERKAT
Nickname for Stevie O’Dell. Rupert Campbell-Black’s adorable second jockey.
G
ALA
M
ILBURN
A Zimbabwean carer, employed to look after Old Eddie Campbell-Black.
T
HE
H
ON
. R
ODDY
N
ORTHFIELD
Lord Rutshire’s younger brother. A Stipendiary Steward and pillar of the British Racing Association, a self-important prat, nicknamed Famous Grouse because of his incessant nitpicking.
E
NID
N
ORTHFIELD
Roddy’s wife, known as ‘Damsire’ because of her obsession with horses’ pedigrees.
C
HAS
N
ORVILLE
Racehorse trainer, very reliant on charm and the ability to give his owners a good time.
L
IONEL
(L
ION
) O’C
ONNOR
Rupert’s workmanlike and conscientious stable jockey.
D
ERMIE
O’D
RISCOLL
Geoffrey’s jockey.
L
ORD
O’H
ARA
(D
ECLAN
)
Ex-television megastar and author. Rupert Campbell-Black’s father-in-law.
L
ADY
O’H
ARA
(M
AUD
)
His feckless actress wife.
C
HARLIE
R
ADCLIFFE
An excellent vet.
C
OSMO
R
ANNALDINI
Dame Hermione Harefield’s son, a little fiend possessing the same lethal brand of sex appeal as his evil conductor father, the late Roberto Rannaldini. Forming a partnership with Isa Lovell, Cosmo has transformed the land round the haunted Abbey of Valhalla into a magnificent state-of-the-art racing yard and stud.
W
OLFIE
R
ANNALDINI
Cosmo’s stepbrother, as straight and honourable as Cosmo is corrupt.
T
ABITHA
R
ANNALDINI
Rupert Campbell-Black’s tempestuous daughter, Olympic eventing gold medallist, married to Wolfie Rannaldini.
T
IMON
R
ANNALDINI
Tabitha and Wolfie’s six-year-old son, bears an alarming resemblance to his Uncle Cosmo.
S
APPHIRE
R
ANNALDINI
Timon’s four-year-old sister.
L
ORD
R
UTSHIRE
(R
UFUS
)
Chairman and owner of Rutshire Racecourse, whose estate borders that of Rupert Campbell-Black, causing many territorial skirmishes over the years.
S
AUVIGNON
S
MITHSON
Cosmo Rannaldini’s stunning but utterly ruthless PA. Used by Cosmo to lead up horses and lead on owners.
B
ABY
S
PINOSISSIMO
Dazzling Australian tenor and racehorse owner, ex-lover of Isa Lovell and current lover of Rupert Campbell-Black’s New York gallery-owning brother Adrian.
C
ONSTANCE
S
PRIGHTLY
A rather pushy vicar’s wife.
S
ALLY
S
TONEHOUSE
Member of panel at the British Racing Association enquiry.
L
ARK
T
OLLAND
A sweet, hardworking, endlessly cheerful Penscombe stable lass, harbouring a hopeless passion for Eddie Alderton.
B
AO
T
ONG
Savvy Chinese teenager, who spends several months at Penscombe learning about training and breeding racehorses.
M
R
T
ONG
(G
ENGHIS
)
Bao’s father, trillionaire manufacturer of aeroplanes.

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