The Interloper by Jimmy Jangles

The Interloper by James Ryan

It was nearing the call, the moment of truth drawing close.

The starter, in his white workman's coat, stood on his ladder, a curious sight for the unseasoned. Why the need for elevation, Simone wondered, as her standard pre-race anxiety gnawed at her insides.

Her horse sensed the tension, a silent understanding passing between them.

The grand G1 Kult Classic at Hastings, a race of immense magnitude was about to take hoof. Only Wellington had a finer race in the lower North Island.

Shouldn't be here, she thought. A pretender in the saddle, a substitute for the usual rider Sheppo currently battling meth addiction.


That said, big dividends today, big dividends indeed..


Curses filled the air as Simone missed the start by the briefest of moments, allowing the inside horses to surge ahead, seizing the advantage.

Omega Supreme bounded from the gate, a hound unleashed in pursuit of its prey. Yet, his fervor soon subsided, settling into a steady rhythm of hoof and grass.

"Come on!" The Jockey's voice strained, her legs urging the horse forward within the stirrups, reserving the whip for later use.

The first turn arrived, Simon positioned slightly wide, trailing six lengths behind the leader who held a favorable spot, even in these early stages.

"Fucking hell!" Run Rogan's rider bellowed, incensed as Simone's steed brushed against his flank. "Get control of your fucking horse!"

She elected to apply a swift crack of the whip, realigning her mount's course by a horse breadth.

Grass and mud sprayed onto her goggles lifted by the front runners, the heavy track proving a hindrance for all contenders.

The thunderous symphony of hooves reverberated through the muddy terrain as the horses exerted themselves, perspiration mingling with the mire along their hindquarters. A frantic jockeying for position ensued as they barreled down the backstretch, their lines converging for the final turn.

The last curve materialized, the frontrunner drawing strength from mysterious depths, while the damp conditions began to drain the other two would-be winners.

Simon, riding wide, perhaps too wide, sensed the right side of the track offered a drier path. Instinct whispered to her, inspired by Rodimus the Avenger's victorious final sprint in the previous race. But such knowledge would be shared among all riders... And then, the turn arrived, and the gap beckoned.

The last burst down the straight, Omega Supreme suddenly came into his element, kicking hard for action, searching for traction, closing within two lengths of the third-placed runner.

The race was for the taking!

Out of nowhere, a suited man materialized on the track, beer in hand, standing as if he were the embodiment of Dances with Wolves himself.

Omega Supreme veered to the right, defying Simone's efforts to rein him left, with devastating consequences. The man was trampled into the mud, hooves connecting with flesh, a sickening crack of jaw and teeth resounding amidst the muck and blood. Yet, Supreme pushed forward unrattled to the line, he was beyond his jockey’s control.

As she finally eased her horse off the pace, Simone glanced back, her figure rising in the stirrups, the course Stewards descending upon the interloper, the approaching ambulance a beacon of urgency.

Fifth place.

"Fucking cunt," Simone muttered while she patted her panting horse, turning for the weigh in.

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