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Flemcara adds spice to frisky fillies at Stratford

Wiltshire trainers never got on the scoresheet at Cheltenham, but in reality, the British successes altogether were few and far between, and much vexing has gone on since. There's many folk who bemoan the race to the bottom of British racing, focused on endless mediocre races rather than the pursuit of excellence.

It's an interesting discussion, in which trainers probably need to voice their opinions in a more co-ordinated fashion, because they are losing out to the bookmaker lobby presently, which demands races every 10 minutes to maintain the interest of horseracing punters. Perhaps, though, a point is being missed; the success of the Festival is that it has something of a scarcity value; sometimes, less is more.

Nevertheless, most trainers don't have a stable full of Graded winners, and do their best with what they have. Two Wiltshire trainers did exactly that today at Fontwell and Stratford, as Milton Harris and Emma Lavelle both enjoyed winners of an ordinary nature.

Milton Harris beat another Wiltshireman, Seamus Mullins into second place in the 2m handicap chase with 11 year old Away For Slates, winning his 5th race since transferring from Dan Skelton's in December 2018. It looks like he has a liking for Fontwell too, as this was his second win there this month. Mullins has a case of seconditis, earning another runner-up berth at Stratford.

At Stratford, Emma Lavelle had brought a clutch of candidates, and perhaps her best-known owner, Andrew Gemmell, who also owns Stayers Hurdle hero of 2019, Paisley Park. Andrew is an honorary member of a racy syndicate called Andy & the Frisky Fillies. If this sounds like the title of a cheap porno, have no fear; the frisky fillies are a pair of septuagenarian ladies enjoying their racing to the full courtesy of Emma and Barry Fenton's inclusive style. It's all definitely good clean fun!

Andrew Gemmell, blind since birth, finds his own way to enjoy racing
Andrew Gemmell, blind since birth, finds his own way to enjoy racing

Flemcara had clearly read the script for this first owners' day back on the track and duly obliged under Tom Bellamy, to be welcomed back to the winner's enclosure by raceday presenter father, Robert, now MFH of the Cotswold Hunt. After the race, it was difficult to know which of the connections was enjoying the moment best - horse, rider, trainer.presenter or owners. It is moments like this that recharge one's enthusiasm for the sport.

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