McPherson Racing


10 December

December 19, 2011 Category :News

Three runners yesterday, YOUNG JIM, FAIRVIEW SUE and RORY BOY.
RORY BOY chose centre stage at Cheltenham to show the signs of temperament that he can. After winning or being placed in each of his starts for his this season, it was disappointing that he chose not to put it in yesterday, but he’s shown in the past that he has his own mind on occasion, and we’ll just have to put it down to that.
YOUNG JIM has now run three times in novice hurdles, and qualifies for a handicap mark. He settled much better at Doncaster yesterday than on his last run at Chepstow, so hopefully he is learning as he grows up. I also think he’ll benefit from handicap company, so fingers crossed the handicapper is fair to him and gives him a chance.
FAIRVIEW SUE remains frustrating. One of our best work horses at home, she just isn’t showing on the track what we know she is capable of. She travelled really well for about 2m, before going out like a light. She’s not showing any obvious physical problems, and she’s not being at all mareish at home, so I think she’ll have to have a full MOT before she next runs to see if we can get to the bottom of what is stopping her

8 December

December 8, 2011 Category :News

The long-awaited return of TICKATACK today, in what I’m afraid was a really decent 2m 4f Novice hurdle. You know that the opposition could take a bit of beating when the Racing Post tells you that one of them was bought for £240,000 after winning his maiden point to point earlier in the year …

After pulling so hard last time when we tried to hold him up, the plan this time was to bounce him out and see whether he’d settle in front. A bit keen at first, he did drop his head though and settle well enough. Although he was tapped for toe when those around started to pick up the pace turning for home, he stayed on well, and I can’t be disappointed with his run. He’s certainly improving all the time for his racing, and I’d hope to see another step in the right direction next time out.

7 December

December 8, 2011 Category :News

Three cheers for VERDE GOODWOOD – a really nice win at Leicester today over 2 miles, and given a really inspired ride by Tom, going wide all the way to find the better ground. After her debut performance at Worcester we were left scratching our heads a bit, but her subsequent third in a mares hurdle and today’s win show her abilities to far better effect. She’s going to the sales at the end of the month, and I suspect that whoever buys her will readily find a race or two for her off her current mark, particularly if they wait until the better ground starts to come after the winter.

4 December

December 8, 2011 Category :News

Just the one today, MISS BROWNES FANCY on her debut over hurdles in the juvenile at Warwick for her new owners, the Martins Hill Racing Partnership III. After doing everything she could to unship Jodie at the first, she then settled and jumped very nicely, moving through the field well to finish 5th beaten a total of 8 lengths. Its too much to say that her bad mistake at the first cost her the race, but I think she would have finished closer had she not made it, and she should be exciting next time out.

Fantastic day as well for the owners, who helped sponsor the day to raise money for the Acorns charity. They laid on a fantastic marquee and fingers crossed it raised a small fortune for the charity. Anyone who is interested in donating, go to their website

3 December 2011

December 8, 2011 Category :News

A change of plans this morning. The early morning inspection and reportedly heavy ground at Chepstow meant heading west rather than north to Wetherby as planned, to check that the ground was safe enough to run YOUNG JIM and KILCREA ASLA. A scoot round the track before racing left me happy enough – it was a bit dead, but (particularly on the fresh ground that they had made available by moving the rail) basically soft, safe jumping ground.

That was pretty much where the happiness ended for a while ! YOUNG JIM gave poor Tom no chance whatsoever in the Novice hurdle. Lit up like a Christmas tree at the start, he pulled his way to the front with over a circuit to go and kept pulling and pulling until, as was inevitably going to happen after that, he ran out of steam. Fair play to Tom for getting him round at all – many would have given up and pulled up. KILCREA ASLA was a much better run. Off for almost 700 days, he blew up turning for home but then stayed on well in the straight to finish mid-division. Although that means he remains a long-standing maiden over hurdles, it should get him spot on for a return to chasing later in the year.

Lastly, QUIZWORK. I am so sad that things are just not working out for him at the moment. He looked like the switch to fences was just the tonic he needed on the first circuit, bowling along and taking lengths out of his rivals in the air. Then on the second circuit he simply stopped to nothing, and his jumping went to pot. Its back to the drawing board with him, but I do fear that we are rather running out of options. For a horse that had such a fantastic novice hurdle season 2 years ago he has been a massive disappointment

30 November

December 8, 2011 Category :News

TRADITIONAL BOB brought November to an end for us today, and with much happier consequences than his last run at Chepstow. He probably just failed to see out the trip in the softer ground, but I was pleased with his run. He’s slowly learning to settle – he was still keen today, but much less so than last time out – and when he does so, he should stay better and be much more competitive at the business end of affairs.

28 November

November 28, 2011 Category :News

A busy weekend, and a successful one, with everything that went out running a pretty decent race.
Unluckiest of the weekend must be LANEGUY. Having putting in a first class round of jumping at the head of affairs at Bangor, he was collared in the dying strides to be beaten a neck into second. There was nothing that Tom could have done – he gave the horse a lovely ride. Someone suggested afterwards that LANEGUY didn’t quite get the trip. They were right – he stays 2m 1 f 105 yards, but not 2m 1f 110 yards ! The third horse was well back, so we’ll just have to hope that the handicapper doesn’t punish him too harshly for his second.
From an afternoon at Bangor to an evening at Wolverhampton – something to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. LITTLE PERISHER was stepping up in trip to 7f, but we thought he’d enjoy the extra furlong. He ran a decent enough race, only beaten 2 lengths in the end, and he certainly did stay the trip. However Michael Stainton said afterwards that he’d felt a bit flat, and I wonder whether, with the amount of racing he’s had despite his young age, he needs a bit more than 7 days between his races these days to get his spark back. Still, he’s been knocking on the door in each of his two starts for us, and I’d hope that he gets his head in front before too long.
Finally, Leicester yesterday for Verde Goodwood in the 2m mares race. After looking like she was going to be tailed off after a mile, she responded well up the home straight to finish like a train and snatch third. I think that a combination of a slightly longer trip, and the confidence that will come with that run after her poor showing at Worcester on the previous occasion, should give her a real chance next time out.

25 November

November 25, 2011 Category :News

A great start to his season for COCACOBANA yesterday, winning first time out. A fantastic ride from Killian too – held up last of 17 for the best part of 2 miles, he brought COCO through the entire field in the home straight to get his head in front 30 yards from the line and win by a head. A really cool, mature ride for one so young. It is rides like that that will bring him to the attention of other trainers and start to get him the number of rides that he deserves.

Very pleased with THE GOOD GUY too, running his race from the front as always. That will be it for the season for him though now – he’s been on the ongoing since early in the year, and deserves a good break. He’ll go home to his owner, Sidney Barling.

24 November

November 24, 2011 Category :News

Schooled half the yard yesterday – we’ve got to take full advantage of the ground no longer being baked hard, but not yet frozen solid with frost ! Something tells me that the all weather schooling strip is going to get plenty of use this winter … Happy with them all, particularly a couple of the youngsters that are turning their attention this year from hurdling to chasing. One that might be worth looking out for is HURRICANE ELECTRIC – he’ll have one more run over hurdles and then go over the larger obstacles. Very pleased also with PRESENTED – he’ll definitely go hurdling now rather than have another run in a bumper.

Disappointing run from QUEL BRUERE at Wetherby in the afternoon. He’s a horse that likes to bowl along in front, and he simply never got the chance to get into the race. Next time …

22 November

November 22, 2011 Category :News

Apologies for a couple of days without posting – technical problems with the website ! Still, gives me the opportunity to relive the last few days …

No racing on Friday, although Paddy Brennan came in to school a few with Jodie, Tom, Killian & Ollie. Laura Day’s horses are all on the verge of a run, and fingers crossed Paddy will be able to ride them. Rather irritatingly though Zanir has just a touch of heat in a foot, and that is going to set him back a couple of days.

Saturday saw us at Haydock with Harry Hunt and a step up in class for him to a £35,000 race. I’ve said before that he’s the sort of horse that you just don’t know how good he is, or how far he can go, as he doesn’t do much at home, and can race a little lazily, meaning that you are never quite sure how much more he has to give. Unfortunately, although he ran a decent race to finish mid-division, Tom reported that he ran a little flat, and certainly I don’t think he quite ran as well as he can. That said, things were probably cursed from the start as he was Alastair Down’s Racing Post pick that morning ! The plan will be to give him a little break, freshen him up, and then look for a similar race in the New Year.

From ‘up north’ to ‘down south’ on Sunday, with CONSTANT CUPID and HURRICANE ELECTRIC at Exeter. CONSTANT CUPID was only there because the course was saying it had genuine soft ground (and even a few heavy patches at decs), but when we walked the course it was the same story as we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks – good to soft at best. It was safe enough, but he just won’t run as he can on anything other than really soft ground, and as a result he ran a disappointing race. More encouraging was HURRICANE ELECTRIC’s run. He’s another that likes cut in the ground, and we’ve been waiting for the ground to build on his seasonal debut at Ffos Las last month. Even he though found things a bit too sharp, staying on into third place but not having the pace to match the winner and the second on the ground.

Finally, we were very pleased to welcome Mark Pitman Karen Bourdon to the yard this morning. They have a cracking pre-training yard, and run the Jenny & Mark Pitman Racing Club, and it was lovely to show offf what we have here to them.

17 November

November 17, 2011 Category :News

Many thanks to everyone who has been in contact over the BHA’s decision today. Hopefully we can now put the whole thing behind us and get back to banging out a few more winners !

17 November

November 17, 2011 Category :News

Took 3 to Peter Cundall’s beautiful grass gallop yesterday for a 12f piece of work on turf. How I wish we had something like that at home !
All three – ZANIR, KILCREA ASLA and WILLIES YARD – worked very well indeed. They will all have their first run of the season in the near future, so fingers crossed they keep up the good start to the season that we are enjoying.

Jodie and I have our appeal against the Chepstow stewards’ decision about TRADITIONAL BOB this morning. Wish us luck …

14 November

November 14, 2011 Category :News

Cracking run from RORY BOY at Leicester today, and a great ride from Tom. Just as at Exeter three weeks ago, the horse tried to throw the towel in when the race quickened, and didn’t put his head down and try for Tom until the last 1/2 mile or so, but when he did knuckle down he loved passing horses again. He was travelling best of all at the finish, and got up in the dying strides to snatch second ahead of KATIES TUITOR. It was only 18 months ago that that horse was winning valuable handicaps off 145, so I’m delighted that RORY is showing his true ability again. The winner, FIRST FANDANGO, is a smart horse, so there was no shame in going down by 3 lenghts to him.
He’s now run on the flat, over fences and over hurdles in his last three runs, and I think that doing different things with him has really helped sweeten him up. After today I think we’ll stick with hurdling for his next run, but perhaps look to step him up in trip a fraction.

14 November

November 14, 2011 Category :News

Only the 2 runners over the weekend, and they ran very different races.

SOCIETY SHARES ran a really nice race in the big-field Novice Hurdle at Uttoxeter on Saturday, to finish in the group of 4 a few lengths behind the leading pair. Aside from a disappointing run at Fontwell last autumn, after which we found he’d picked up a niggling injury that kept him out for the rest of the season, that was his first outing for over 18 months, so we were delighted with the way that he stayed on and showed a good battling spirit at the business end of the race. His jumping was a bit scratchy in places – which we’ll excuse as it was his first run over hurdles – but if we can brush up on that in the next couple of weeks I think he’ll run some nice races for us in the coming months.

QUIZWORK ran the very opposite of a nice race. We’ve been so patient with him after his problems last year that to see him run no sort of race at all was bitterly disappointing. His run really was too bad to be true, so we had the racecourse vet put a scope down him, and he found that he’d burst. It wasn’t a bad bleed thank goodness, and it at least explained why he’d run as he did, but it is frustrating that he seems to encounter problem and problem in his races when he shows us so much at home. We’ll obviously have to train him a bit differently now that we know he’s possibly prone to bleeding, and also I think we’ll look to step him up in trip and go over fences so that he’s not under so much pressure as early in his races.

Runners aside, it was a cracking weekend’s racing at Cheltenham. Thank you to everyone that came to see us in the box – it is always nice to meet new potential owners (!), see so many familiar faces and catch up on what has been going on. I was only disappointed that RORY BOY was ballotted out for Friday. Fingers crossed we’ll have a couple at the next meeting in December.

10 November

November 10, 2011 Category :News

A rainy afternoon at Bangor yesterday with FAIRVIEW SUE and MISTER WYCHWOOD.
There is no getting away from the fact that FAIRVIEW SUE was disappointing. She seemed to travel OK, although she missed a few of her hurdles, but then there was simply nothing there when she was asked for her effort turning for home. Although she seemed flat immediately after the race, she bounced off the lorry when we got home, ate up and seems perky enough. We’ll see how she is in a couple of days, and if she doesn’t seem herself, get some tests done.
MISTER WYCHWOOD was much more encouraging, although he was always going to have a tough task living up to WYCHWOOD MIST and WYCHWOOD DANCER’s debuts earlier this year ! He finished mid-division, having run very, very green. While I suspect he’ll definitely come on for the race mentally and physically, I’d be inclined to look for better ground and a flatter, easier track next time out, as he struggled to balance himself at times on the undulations.

7 November 2011

November 8, 2011 Category :News

Very sad news with the death of TIGHE CASTER at Southwell today. He’s been a lovely horse to have had in the yard these past 2 1/2 years, and he’s given us some great days racing. The highlight obviously has to be his win for us at Market Rasen last year, but his overall record was exemplary. After a season pointing, where he ran TURTHEN close before the latter went on to win the Foxhunters, he ran 12 times for us under Rules, winning one and being placed on a further 7 occasions. His overall career record was 5 wins and 13 places from 47 races, winning a little over £40,000 in prize money. Although its little comfort, he died doing what he loved. Thank you to everyone who has phoned and emailed with condolences.
Good runs from the others at Southwell, albeit that we appeared to be plum out of luck ! LANEGUY fell jumping the last, having travelled and jumped well through the race. He was challenging the eventual winner when he just knuckled on landing, giving Paddy Brennan no chance. Paddy said afterwards he would have won if he had stayed up – but Denis O’Regan on the winner said exactly the same thing about his !
YOUNG JIM ran a very encouraging race on his debut under Rules, finishing third behind two very smart sorts. I wouldn’t be at all surpised to see the winner and the second competing at a high level this season, and I’ve no doubt that another performance like that from YOUNG JIM on another day would have seen him come close.
Last but by no means least, another cracking run from THE GOOD GUY at Hereford. Proving that he is now grown up enough to go right handed as well as left handed, he ran another decent race to finish in the winners enclosure for the sixth time this summer. I just wish he could get his head in front once before he finishes for the winter !

5 November

November 8, 2011 Category :News

What a good day’s racing at Wincaton today, and what a day for PN !
Very happy with our pair. QUEL BRUERE ran two good races back to back for the first time in his life, and PRESENTED ran a satisfactory race on his racecourse debut.
Jumping three out I confess I thought that QB had the rest of the field in trouble – Killian had given the horse a lovely, front-running ride, and he’d really responded for him, putting in some great leaps on the way round and thoroughly enjoying himself. He just got a bit tired as he hit the rising ground turning for home. Still, beaten 4 lengths in the most valuable race he has ever competed in isn’t a bad result.
PRESENTED was the model of professionalism in the preliminaries, a far cry from how he can be at home ! Jumped off handy, he just didn’t quite have the turn of foot to go with the leaders once they had started racing off the bend. Still, a respectable mid-division finish gives us plenty to work with now he goes over hurdles.

1 November

November 2, 2011 Category :News

Took full advantage today of the recent rain and schooled everything that is ready for a run, and also got most of the youngsters off the floor. Its been a bit frustrating waiting for the ground to come right to school them on the grass, but thank goodness we put the all weather schooling lane in during the summer. That has enabled us to get everything jumping away even while the ground has still been firm. I suspect we’ll be even more grateful when the winter comes and everything freezes solid !

31 October 2011

October 31, 2011 Category :News

A difficult day at Kempton, with what looks like a serious injury to PORTA VOGIE.
He travelled really nicely for Jodie in the 3m handicap chase, putting in some spectacular leaps along the way. Ridden to go with the leaders around the final bend, Jodie managed to get a blow into him, but then felt him go wrong after jumping the second last. He pulled him up before the last, but it looks as if he’s done some damage to the tendon in his near-fore. He’s travelled home tonight in thick bandages and a plaster cast, which will stay on until Friday when we can scan to assess the damage. I’ll keep everyone posted.
I’m particularly sad for the Racing Club that has just taken him as a lease horse for the season. If in fact it proves to be a long term injury, I’ll make sure they have a replacement horse to have some fun with during the winter while he recovers.

30 October

October 30, 2011 Category :News

I’ve thought it best not to post for a few days since Chepstow, as I thought whatever I said would simply prolong the debate over TRADITIONAL BOB’s race. Given that Jodie and I are appealing, I’m still not going to say anything over and above what has been in the press already, other than to thank everyone who has telephoned, texted, emailed and visited us at the yard to give us their support. What you have said has made a difficult week bearable (just !).

Far, far happier things have been going on over the last 24 hours though, with HARRY HUNT winning by the shortest of noses at Wetherby on Charlie Hall day yesterday, on his first attempt over 2m 4f. Anyone that saw the race knows that the plaudits must go to Mick Finn, who had him absolutely spot on for the race, and Tom Molloy, who gave him a fantastic waiting ride at the back of the field before cruising into contention with 1/2 mile to run before chasing down WOLF MOON to get his nose in front in the very last stride of the race. I confess that I thought he hadn’t quite got up, and it was only when I saw the photograph on the big screen and heard the commentator call the result that I actually realised he’d won it. He really is a little superstar, never doing more than what he absolutely has to in order to get his head in front, but still with a real determination to run his best.

The third and fourth were a fair way back, so we’ll have to see what the handicapper does to him this week before deciding what to do next, but to have such a progressive 4 year old as him in the yard, who can win first time out off 123, is something that makes me very excited indeed.

Kempton tomorrow with PORTA VOGIE. I think he should enjoy himself – a small field, good ground and a flat track will play to his strengths. We’ve taken a pull with HURRICANE ELECTRIC though – the ground has still got some good to firm in it on the south coast, so we’ll just hang on a bit longer with him.

Last word – spare some sympathy for Tom Molloy this week. Two fantastic rides to win on 2 difficult horses for us in the last 10 days to kick start his season, and he now starts a 7 day whip ban.