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Middleham trainer Don Enrico Incisa dies aged 70.

Byline: ROY BRIGGS

DON ENRICO INCISA, the Middleham-based trainer, died in hospital on Saturday evening after collapsing at home. He was 70.

The Italian-born handler was admitted to Northallerton Friarage Hospital on Friday after being found seriously ill at his Thorngill yard by his housekeeper.

His full name was Marchese Enrico Incisa della Rocchetta, but he preferred to be known in England simply as Don Enrico. His father was Marchese Mario Incisa, business partner of Federico Tesio and owner of the mighty Ribot.

For several years he trained in Milan and his most notable winners were his father's horses Tierceron, who won the Gran Premio d'Italia and Gran P remio del Jockey Club in 1972, Tratteggio and Mannsfeld. In 1981 he moved to Middleham, from where he regularly sent out winners from a small string.

He made his name buying inexpensive horses and turning them into prolific moneyspinners, notably ex-selling plater McGillycuddy Reeks, whom he retired last year aged 13. Incisa picked her up after she went to the sales and failed to reach her 2,500gns reserve, but she ended up winning 13 of her 130 starts and about pounds 100,000 in prize-money.

Yesterday racing professionals paid tribute to the `quiet man' of racing. Fellow trainer Nigel Tinkler, whose wife Kim rode many of his winners, said: ``We've been fortunate that Enrico has been a part of our lives for the past 20 years.

``He was the perfect gentleman and cared for his horses. He was more concerned that they came back in one piece than with winning. He would rather a horse got beat than come back being hit.

``Enrico bought many horses at very reasonable prices, and did wonders with them. He changed them from glorified selling platers into decent handicappers because when they won they didn't get a hard time and this instilled them with confidence - they became happy horses and improved.''

Kim Tinkler said: ``Not only was he a good boss but he was my friend.''

Middleham-based trainer K ate Milligan said: ``He was a real gent, the kindest person you could wish to meet, and he helped me a lot over the years. He always had the horses' welfare at heart and didn't like them being whipped.''

Lennie Peacock, who runs Middleham's Manor House Stud, said: ``He was a dear old friend and we shall miss him very much. He was very popular in Middleham. He loved his horses and loved England.''

Former trainer Steve Kettlewell, who now runs a horsetransport business, said: ``I've known him well for 15 years and shared a whisky or two over a few nights chatting about racing.

``Although outwardly at the races he was a very private and shy man, once you got to know him he was really interesting and knew everything that was going on in racing. A lovely fellow with his own ideas about the game. He was good to work with and a good friend.''

Incisa's last winner was at Wolverhampton on March 7, when Simply The Guest completed a hat-trick of wins within four weeks.

There was a minute's silence after the big race at the Capannelle in Italy yesterday in honour of both Don Enrico and leading owner-breeder, Vittorio Riva. Riva had been a successful owner for 45 years, racing both as Scuderia Diamante and Scuderia El-Vi.

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Don Enrico Incisa `Quiet man' of racing
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 2, 2005
Words:565
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