Etta Bancroft - sweet, kind, still beautiful - adores racing and harbours a crush on one of its stars, the handsome high-handed owner-trainer Rupert Campbell-Black. When her bullying husband dies, Etta's selfish, ambitious children drag her from her lovely Dorset house to live in a hideous modern bungalowin the Cotswold village of Willowwood.
Etta's life is transformed when she finds a horribly mutilated filly wandering in the woods. She names her Mrs Wilkinson and nurses her back to health. The filly charms everyone in the village, and when tests reveal her to be a spectacularly well-bred racehorse a village syndicate is formed to put the filly into training.
Captivating vast crowds as she progresses from point-to-point to major races, she brings fame and fortune to the syndicate, until, at last, she is entered in the greatest jump race of them all. Can Mrs Wilkinson win the Grand National? And can Etta gain her heart's desire?