McPherson Racing


3 March

March 7, 2012 Category :News

A good day at Newbury today, one of my favourite tracks, with TICKATACK. He was stepping up in class a bit today – as you’d expect going to a Grade 1 track on a Saturday afternoon – and he didn’t let us down. Although he was touched off into second place by HANDY ANDY, a £115,000 purchase last year for Colin Tizzard, he again showed that the penny is dropping for him, and he is improving with every race. Based on that performance, I’d definitely expect him to stay further, and as we’ve always thought, he will love jumping a fence. He wouldn’t want ground any quicker than the good ground there today though, so we’ll try to find something a little softer next time out. It would also be nice to see him get his head in front again, so we’ll try to find an easier race too !

1 March

March 7, 2012 Category :News

It seems odd that we haven’t had a runner out for a few days, as we’ve plenty ready for a run but for some reason the races just haven’t been there for them this week. Then, when we finally do get to the races, the ground turns out to be not as expected ! That was MISS BROWNES FANCY’s fate today at Taunton. Her very patient owners have waited for the soft ground to quicken, and we thought we’d have genuine good ground there. However, when we walked the track it was obvious that the going was poor – patchy, rough and not the sort of ground that you’d want to race a young horse on. Disappointing though it always is to pull out a horse on the day of a race, it was definitely the right thing to do for her today. She’s got the spring and summer ahead of her for a nice campaign, and it would have been foolish to risk that by running her on poor ground today.

23 February

March 7, 2012 Category :News

RORY BOY went back to Southwell today, looking to repeat the heroics that he performed on the fibresand a couple of weeks ago, although this time over 2 miles on the flat rather than in a bumper. Wasn’t to be though, as today most certainly wasn’t a going day for him. One of the problems is that he needs every ounce of a jockey’s strength to persuade him to race to his best, and when that jockey is a lightweight flat jockey, the battle is a bit unequal ! I’ve no doubt he has the ability to win on the flat, its persuading him to put in the effort that is the hard part.

20 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

No runners today, but I thought I’d post a boast on behalf of the yard instead ! I was told last night that the results at the weekend has now given us as many winners for the season as the yard’s total winners for the whole of last season, and that the prize money won by the yard’s horses so far this season now exceeds £50,000. I know that by comparison with a lot of the big yards that is peanuts, but for a yard in its third season I’m absolutely delighted with those numbers; they are a real tribute to the hard work that goes on every day, and to the progress that the yard is showing. With 10 weeks of of this season still to go, I’d hope that we can notch up a few more winners and some more prize money for the owners.

19 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

Two at Ffos Las today, one in each of the divisions of the EBF Novices Hurdle qualifier – thank goodness they split it !

SOCIETY SHARES was up first, and although he ran well enough for the first 12f or so, halfway through the race Tom was niggling away and he appeared to be back-peddling. Someone texted me later to saythat you could have backed him at 1000-1 in running at that point. However, althugh he looked a bit one paced turning for home, Tom kept on at him, and he jumped the last no more than a dozen lengths or so off the leaders, and after being switched to get a run, flew home to finish second, only beaten a neck by Jonjo’s MERRY KING, who had cost £150,000 last year. Tom said afterwards that another couple of strides and he would have won it. I was obviously delighted to see the horse run well. We’ve always thought that he had ability from his runs as a youngster over in Ireland, but the injury that he picked up when he first came to us, coupled with a couple of runs on ground that, with hindsight, was probably a bit too soft for him, made me wonder whether he was a horse that was always going to flatter to deceive. However, today’s run would suggest that the talent is still there – we’ll just have to persuade him to show it more often !

A cracking run too from TRADITIONAL BOB. He was in what was probably the stronger of the 2 divisions, and ran well for a long way before facing back into 5th by the finish. Still, he was beaten less than 20 lengths by a couple of decent horses, and showed that at his level he should be able to pick up a race or two. Hopefully now he’ll get a handicap mark and he’ll be able to be competitive.

18 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

A busy day, and a very satisfying one.

Thirty five members of the Cheltenham & Three Counties Racing Club came for a morning on the gallops, breakfast and a yard tour this morning. It stayed bright and dry for them, and the horses all behaved themselves, which is always a good start ! I left them in Jodie’s capable hands after breakfast for the yard tour, as I was shooting down to Wincanton, and he talked them through the successes and near-misses that each horse has had this season !

The rain started falling just as we arrived at Wincanton, which I thought would suit KILCREA ASLA but not be in COCACOBANA’s favour, as he hadn’t really enjoyed deep ground at Haydock last time out. However, it didn’t seem to inconvenience Coco too much, as he won the 2m 6f handicap hurdle in some style under a cracking ride by Killian. Coco just keeps getting better and better this year, as his form figures show, but he won well today, and the handicapper is bound to put him up a few pounds for the win, so we’ll have to see where he goes next. I still think he’ll enjoy better ground, and he should stay a bit further on better ground too, so there may yet be another win in him over hurdles !

I should also say – that win puts Killian on a hat-trick next time out, as he rode a winner for Alex Hales at Fakenham yesterday too.

KILCREA ASLA was a big price in the market, but I always felt that he could run a big race today. Wayne Hutchinson had the ride, and gave him a peach of a run round. Held up behind a decent pace, he jumped for fun all the way around and moved into contention 4 from home. It always looked like it would be a cracking finish, with 5 in the air together at the third last, and so it proved. One by one they dropped away until there were only two left – KILCREA and the favourite, David Pipe’s PAINTER MAN. KILCREA landed with his nose just in front after the last, but on the run in Tom Bellamy’s 10lb allowance on PAINTER MAN showed, and he just edged Wayne out of it. KILCREA’s form figures don’t do him justice – that was the 10th second place of his career – and I really hope that we can get a win for him before the end of the season. He’s a lovely horse to have in the yard.

16 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

I’ve ummed and aahed about running a few this week, but at most tracks the ground is still not great after last week’s freeze – as the frost has come out of the ground, the turf has been left pretty dead and poached I think, so we’re just hanging on a few days until there’s some better ground. All of them are well and ready to go though.

12 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

I could get to like these Jumpers Bumpers ! RORY BOY ran a cracker at Southwell today to notch up another win for the season, and it was probably the best that he has travelled all year. Sometimes he races with a degree of reluctance, but today he ran as though he was loving the surface and loving the change, and you could call him the winner a fair distance from home.

A good note to end on for Tom Molloy too, who is off to Dubai for a few days this week. Now that the cold snap looks like breaking, there will be plenty for him to ride once he gets back !

11 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

A busy day at Kempton yesterday for the Jumpers Bumpers card, and a fairly successful one given the lay off that we’ve had.

WYCHWOODS MIST was an unlucky loser in the lares bumper. She revels in a good test, but the field went a crawl for well over a mile before winding up the pace and sprinting the last 4 furlongs. Not ideal for her at all, but she ran with real credit, particularly after more than 5 months off, to be beaten only 5 lengths. All being well, she’ll head to Sandown for the EBF mares NHF final in March, a race for which she qualified without leaving her box as a result of the recent abandonments of the qualifiers !

ZANIR and WESTLIN WINDS next, both in the hurdlers’ bumper. WESTLIN WINDS didn’t really get into the race, but was staying on at the end, while ZANIR had a back shoe ripped off when something clipper heels with him in the back straight, and as a result, didn’t show the enthusiasm for a fight that you’d expect from him. Both will fight another day soon though, WESTLIN WINDS back in handicap hurdle company and ZANIR in the Imperial Cup at Sandown on 10 March.

Best run of the day for us was HARRY HUNT. Denied a run after being blocked 2f from home, Tom had to switch him to the rail and come again, which HARRY did very well. He couldn’t catch the long-time leader, but he won his own private battle for the minor places to get his head in front for second place. Provided he gets in off his mark, he’ll go the Festival for either the Coral Cup or the Martin Pipe.

9 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

Great news with the BHA arranging some jumpers bumpers – Kempton this Friday is definite, and there’s a rumour of another one at either Lingfield or Kempton at the weekend. The lack of racing, and in particular the uncertainty over when racing will return, has made the last 10 days particularly difficult, as we just don’t know when the horses are going to next need to be spot on. There’s a few to aim for Kempton though, if they all get in !

8 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

The Racing UK profile on the yard aired today, which was exciting. The preview that they have been playing for the last week or so has attracted some good comments, so I hope the full programme goes down similarly well. Its great to be able to show off the horses and the yard to a wider audience !

7 February

February 20, 2012 Category :News

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last week or so. Two reasons. First, the website has been undergoing some maintenance, but more significantly, not a lot has been happening ! This weather has made life very dificult indeed. The snow is an inconvenience, but it is the temperatures that disrupts the routine. We’re always reluctant to do too much with the horses when the mercury drops much below zero, as freezing air going into the lungs doesn’t do them very much good, as you can imagine, so it has been a case of lots and lots of slow, steady work to keep them ticking over. The all weather has taken the freeze well, thank goodness, so it has meant that we’ve been able to get everything out everyday, and also to school on the all weather jumping lane. It has also meant that the phone has brely stopped ringing with people wanting to box their horses over to use it !

28 January

January 29, 2012 Category :News

A frustrating evening at Wolverhampton last night. We took WESTLIN WINDS for the 2miler. Although it turned out to be a decent enough race, and I thought he’d struggle to win it, I thought a place was on the cards. Raoul Da Silva was booked to ride, and off a feather weight I thought the horse would have a whale of a time round there. All thoughts of that disappeared a furlong into the race though, when one of Raoul’s leathers snapped and left him without irons, bouncing on the horse’s back for the next 12 furlongs. With 3 furlongs to run he then got up on his knees and rode a finish like that ! All credit to the horse and to Raoul for trying, but it was all a bit futile, and did little but give the horse a sore back.

26 January

January 29, 2012 Category :News

SOCIETY SHARES at Hereford and MISS BROWNES FANCY at Warwick. Both running OK, but both really wanting better ground. MISSY in particular hasn’t shown as much in her 2 most recent races as she showed first time out, and I think the worsening ground is the reason for that. She’ll be better in her own grade and on her ground. SOCIETY SHARES should be able to be more competitive too as winter turns to spring. His decent runs in Ireland were on better ground, but we’ve just got to balance his need for better ground with a fragile leg – not easy !

25 January

January 25, 2012 Category :News

A slightly different morning on the yard this morning. Racing UK are making us the feature of one of their Trainer Profiles, and spent the morning filming at the yard. They had the cameras out for three lots out on the hill & loop gallop, followed by some chat with Stewart Machin, followed by some filming around the yard. Star of the morning ? Definitely Steph, who agreed to be interviewed on camera and did a great job. Thankfully the weather stayed kind, and the horses all behaved. There are going to be some previews on RUK over the next couple of weeks, and then the Stable Tour will be aired in mid February. Keep an eye out !

24 January

January 25, 2012 Category :News

A solid if unspectacular run from PRESENTED at Leicester this afternoon. Although it was a decent novice, with some seriously pricey horses in it, I thought he’d finish a couple of places closer than he did. However, he struggled in the ground. While it was softer at Haydock last time out, and he was able to go through it, Leicester was sticky, holding ground. He’s still just too young and weak to cope well with testing ground like that. Give him time though …

23 January

January 23, 2012 Category :News

Spent a very enjoyable day serving drinks behind the bar at the Heythrop point to point yesterday. This season’s meeting is apparently going to be the last at Dunthrop, so it was fitting that it was a day to finish on – good fields, big crowds and some cracking finishes

22 January

January 22, 2012 Category :News

I can’t believe how windy it was at Wincanton yesterday. There were reports of 70mph winds at the top of the TV towers, and I certainly didn’t envy the cameramen thir jobs !

Delighted with HARRY HUNT. His finishing position – fourth – probably doesn’t do his run justice. We were dropping him back in trip to 2miles, and with the omission of 2 hurdles it rather turned into an extended flat race. Not ideal if you are carrying top weight ! In the end the weight counted – we were giving the winner a stone and the second 30lbs – but he battled all the way to the line. Having moaned when the handicapper put him up 7lbs earlier in the season to 130, and complained that I didn’t think he could win off that mark over hurdles, although it pains me to say it I think the handicapper was probably right, and he can be competitive still off that mark.

Less delighted with KILCREA ASLA’s run. The horse was spot on, but was just never put in the race. Its frustrating when you think you’ve got everything just right at home, and go racing with what you think is a live chance, but the horse isn’t given a chance to show what he can do. The good news is that he is absolutely fine this morning – licked his bowl clean, and is bucking and squealing out in the paddock. I suspect he’ll be out again quickly.

18 January

January 19, 2012 Category :News

After surviving two insepctions, Southwell went ahead today. The ground was probably some of the best ground we’ve had for a while – lovely good to soft jumping ground – although the frost that had been it over the last few days meant that it rode a little dead.

Very nice to see TICKATACK break his duck at the fourth attempt. It was fair to say that he’d been a disappointment over hurdles to date – he got very lit up in his first run at Worcester, and its taken a couple of runs for him to learn that he’s got to settle and pass other horses if he wants to win his race ! However, yesterday the penny dropped. Helped by a really good pace, he was able to settle towards the rear and then make his way through the field on the final circuit. He was very green when he hit the front, but stayed on well to win. Whether he can win in the next grade remains to be seen, but although he’s now 7, he remains very inexperienced and hopefully there might still be some improvement there.

TRADITIONAL BOB also ran a nice race to finish 5th in the 2 mile novice hurde. For the first time this season he settled early in the race, and that allowed Jodie to make some progress on the final circuit and pass horses. I’ve been reluctant to run him over further than 2 miles so far this year, as the slower pace in longer races has resulted in him being far too keen, but hopefully he will get more of a trip in time. He’s certainly bred for further. I was also delighted at the way he took to the brush hurdles at Southwell – I’ve always hoped he’ll jump a fence, and on what we saw yesterday, you’d expect him to enjoy that.

Finally, WYCHWOODS DANCER. Although her younger half-sister, A BIT OF A MADAM, went off favourite, of the three that we took to Southwell yesterday WYCHWOODS DANCER was the one that I thought had the best chance of getting her head in front. In her 2 bumpers to date she’d shown everything you would hope to see in a bumper horse – stays the trip, has a turn of foot, and has real battling qualities. However, the best laid plans of mice and men …
Without any pace in the race, Jodie chose to jump off to make it, and out in front the mare pulled and hung. Even then she might well have been in the shake up had she not run very wide on the final bend, losing her momentum and allowing 2 to slip up the inside rail and pass her. Although form of 244 in bumpers isn’t bad, I know that there is a win in her before she goes hurdling, and I know that all her connections are disappointed that we haven’t achieved it yet. One more opportunity, and we’d better get it right next time.

17 January

January 19, 2012 Category :News

Where has all this frost come from the last few days ? Makes life very cold in the mornings, although it is a pretty stunning sight out on the gallops when everything is crisp and white, and the steam is rising from the horses as they walk off after exercise