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Newmarket trainer Ilka Gansera-Leveque takes out a dual licence due to reluctant starting horse

Newmarket trainer Ilka Gansera-Leveque has joined racing’s dual National Hunt and Flat racing fraternity – prompted by a horse that wouldn’t come out of the stalls.

The reluctant starter, who proved to love jumping, is now running over hurdles in the blue and white colours of the handler’s new racing club venture – Vantage Point Racing – for supporters of her St Wendred’s stables.

Just Once, a five-year-old mare that showed good speed on the gallops, was previously reluctant to leave the stalls.

Gansera-Leveque with Just Once (45871347)
Gansera-Leveque with Just Once (45871347)

“She would just stand in the stalls for around five seconds, by which time everything else had gone,” said Gansera-Leveque.

“It was really frustrating, as she was quick on the gallops and would then make up a lot of ground when she did condescend to get racing.

“We took her jumping to freshen her up, which often works, and she loved it. We were lucky enough to get Nick Scholfield to school her and he was very complimentary about how well she jumped. From a Cheltenham-winning jockey that was pretty special.

“Both my husband Stephane and I have experience with teaching horses to jump, so I took out a dual licence and it’s given our new racing club members some fun following her.”

Vantage Point Racing offers an interesting package for supporters of Ilka and husband Stéphane’s St Wendred’s yard, named after a saint who used healing waters from a nearby spring and a perfect location for a trainer who is also a practicing vet.

“The name implies a place or position affording a good view of something, but what’s a good view, without people to share it with," she said. “This way our club members can feel part of the yard along with like-minded people.

“It’s very much a social club, with stable updates, race day tickets for 2021, a meet and greet with our jockeys, newsletters, videos and stable visits and we are planning a trip to see the healing spring.”

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