Uk tote group

The new Tote is a ray of hope for British racing

There is nothing like visiting a stud early in the foaling season. As amiable mums-to-be saunter up to the paddock rails, it both rekindles the basic passion — admiration for the magnificent animals that give us such pleasure contesting their prowess — and recharges the optimism sometimes sapped by racing’s structural problems. In Friday’s winter sunshine, at Alex and Olivia Frost’s Ladyswood Stud near Malmesbury, the Dubawi mare Empress Consort, once trained by Andre Fabré and now in foal to the mighty Frankel, nibbled my notebook while Malaya, formerly a classy hurdler with Paul Nicholls, arched her neck and nuzzled up to help Alex reach her favourite scratching spot. In