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Owner celebrates a brace as Donald McCain fires in 109-1 four-stroke | Horse racing news

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Owner Gary Fitzpatrick (second from right) with Forpaddytheplumber and Brian Hughes

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

By Andrew Dietz

Sunday: Carlisle

Owner Gary Fitzpatrick had an unforgettable day in the glorious Cumbria sunshine after his one-two finish in the opening two races served as the springboard to a 109-1 quadruple for coach Donald McCain.

Fitzpatrick, a Cheshire-based solicitor, still pinches himself for having horses with McCain and the couple celebrated together after wins with Forpaddytheplumber and Geromino, both ridden by Brian Hughes.

“Racing has been a passion since I was a kid in the 70s and Red Rum and the McCain family were a big part of that, so when I met Donald there was an instant connection,” Fitzpatrick said.

“He gave me two rules – pay the bills and get lucky. I paid all the bills and got lucky because they’re winners 41 and 42 with Donald.”

McCain sent four horses to the meeting and ended up winning with all of them, after Malpas and Killane kept the stable’s stellar season going.

The trainer, who was highly praised for his team at Bankhouse, played a major role in Hughes’ all-out assault on the Jockeys’ Championship.

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Geromino clears a fence en route to victory in the Novice 2m Handicap Pursuit

Geromino clears a fence en route to victory in the Novice 2m Handicap Pursuit

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

The win aboard Malpas in the novice handicap hurdle was number 184 for the season for undisputed title leader Hughes, who is fast approaching his goal of 200 winners.

Danny McMenamin, a late replacement for the injured Peter Kavanagh on Killane, got involved in McCain’s dominance with a win in the 2m1f handicap hurdle.

Welcome boost

When the chips are down, you find out who you can count on. Smooth Stepper has been a great servant to Alex Hales and he was there for the coach again as he recorded back-to-back victories in the veteran pursuit.

The oldest statesman on the court at 13, Smooth Stepper gave Hales a boost in what is proving to be a frustrating season.

“He’s been the most wonderful horse for the owners and he rarely lets you down,” the trainer said. “For him to do this at the age of 13 is just awesome.

“We had a season of ups and downs and we needed it today. He’s been so good at home that if he hadn’t raced well, I would have cried.”

Although this is Hales’ 16th win of the season, his strike rate is lower than his previous two campaigns.

“We’ve had two really good seasons and the horses haven’t been as healthy as you’d like, so winners have been harder to find, but that’s the way it is,” Hales said.


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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 6:55 PM, MARCH 20, 2022