Magazine article The Spectator

Fillies Are More Fun

Magazine article The Spectator

Fillies Are More Fun

Article excerpt

THERE is a scene in the seminal drama Allo Allo in which Rene looks at his reflection in the mirror and sighs with, it seems, genuine puzzlement. `Oh, Rene,' he says. `What is it you do to these girls?'

One is tempted to ask Henry Cecil the same question. Cecil, the sort of racehorse trainer who wears pink socks at Royal Ascot, would seem to have produced one of the horses of the season - and certainly the best and brightest of the girls.

His filly Ramruma positively bolted home in the Irish Oaks last weekend, following her victory in the Oaks at Epsom, making it her fourth win in four runs this season. They would be hard pushed to equal a success rate like that even at the Cafe Rene.

'I do like training fillies,' Cecil said after Ramruma's Oaks. `It is a fascination of mine.' He proceeded to follow this uncharacteristic outburst of frankness with an utterly characteristic Cecil word. `They are very amusing.'

We live in a post-feminist era and have all long since agreed that men and women are more or less interchangeable, and that any difference that can be said to exist between the sexes is entirely a matter of misguided and erroneous nurture. I once bought a pint of Guinness for a nun: if that doesn't prove the point, nothing will.

However, if you try to be politically correct with mares and fillies, you will find that things go badly wrong. `You have to allow them to get away with certain things,' Cecil said. My own mare used to stand up at Tjunctions. She would wait for exactly 30 seconds and then stand on her hind legs. …

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