Penguin Random House Children’s will publish a sequel to Clare Balding’s debut novel, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, inspired by the kidnap of Derby winner Shergar.
Ben Horslen, PRH Children’s fiction publisher, acquired world rights from Eugenie Furniss at Furniss Lawton and will publish The Racehorse Who Disappeared in hardback this autumn under the Puffin imprint. The novel will be illustrated by Tony Ross.
The Racehorse Who Disappeared continues to follow Charlie Bass and her family of humans and animals, after her racehorse Noble Warrior wins the Derby. Thieves break into Folly Farm and kidnap the horse, so Charlie investigates. The story was inspired by the case of Derby winner Shergar who was taken by masked gunmen in County Kildare in 1983 and never seen again.
Horslen said: "With her strong thighs and can-do attitude, Charlie Bass really is a heroine for our times and I know that Clare’s thousands of fans – many of whom have met her at one of her dozens of school and public events – will love her new adventure."
Balding said: “I have been so surprised and touched by the response of those who have read The Racehorse Who Wouldn't Gallop. Having met thousands of them in schools and at literary festivals, I can now fully appreciate that young readers engage thoroughly and passionately with the books they read. They suggest plot lines, recount their favourite bits, feel really attached to the characters and I hope feel inspired to write their own stories.”
She added: “This next story is inspired by the true drama of Shergar, the Derby winner who was kidnapped in Ireland, and by the real incidents of cruel 'chariot racing' on the roads of the UK and Ireland.”
The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop has sold 63,826 copies so far via Nielsen BookScan for a value of £484,472. It was published in September last year and is released in paperback today (18th May).