Sleuthing required in the case of the Grand National winner
Sherlock Holmes pressed more opium into the bowl of his pipe and turned to face Dr Watson."I am a busy man, Watson," he said, as a fresh cloud of smoke drifted across the great man's room at 221b Baker Street.
"No you're not," thought Dr Watson, "it's months since you had a case."
"It is the Grand National that brings you, I presume," Holmes continued, with the air of smug self-satisfaction that made him so unpopular among his acquaintances.
"How did you know?" Watson exclaimed."First," replied Holmes, taking off his deerstalker hat, "it is the subject of all discussion. Second, I know you to be a man of the Turf and, third, you have a copy of the Racing Post in your hand."
"Ah, yes," said Watson. "I was hoping that you might help me solve the puzzle of the race."
Holmes drew heavily on his pipe. "I believe it was four years ago that I pointed you towards Auroras Encore, at 66-1. You bought a residence on your winnings, did you not?"
"Indeed," said Dr Watson."And have lost it all since."
Holmes frowned and looked down his long nose (he was being played by Basil Rathbone) at Watson, who shuffled pathetically (he was being played by Nigel Bruce).
"By the way," Holmes continued, "why are you not wearing a shirt?"Dr Watson looked embarrassed. "I went to Southwell yesterday," he replied.
Holmes disappeared behind a cloak of opium smoke. "You recall the case of Silver Blaze?" he asked."Yes indeed," replied Dr Watson, perking up a little.
"Just testing," said Holmes, waving Watson and his Racing Post towards him."And what are your thoughts?" Holmes asked.
"Well," replied Dr Watson, looking childishly pleased to be asked.
"Vieux Lion Rouge is strongly fancied. He is 10-1."
"Then he is too short," retorted Holmes, who was averse to all things French and had voted to leave the European Union.
"It was my friend Oscar Wilde who observed that most gamblers know the price of everything and the value of nothing. By the way, after all these years I think you may call me Sherlock."
Looking ridiculously gratified, Watson said, "Thank-you, Sherlock."
"That's all right, Watson," said Holmes. "Now, the National."
Holmes picked up a pen. "Good God,Watson," he spluttered. "I had no idea the French invasion had penetrated so far."
He crossed out a host of runners. Dr Watson looked perplexed. At medical school he had been known as a "complete duffer" and, to Holmes' satisfaction, was easily impressed.
"Mr Waley-Cohen has a remarkable record over the National fences," Holmes observed, his eyes glazing over as the opium took its toll."
Do you recommend an investment on Young Master, then? Watson asked eagerly.
"Each-way, perhaps," said Holmes, "but I assume it is the winner you are seeking."
While Dr Watson rubbed his hands together like Uriah Heep, Sherlock Holmes slumped to the floor in a drugged stupor. As Watson bent over him, he heard Holmes whisper, "One For Arthur."