Cheltenham festival 2013

Donald McCain Cheltenham special

binocularsBankhouse Stables, Cholmondeley, Cheshire

 

Please see Donald’s comments under each horse below

 

Synopsis – Son of an Aintree legend; Donald McCain has established himself as the north’s leading trainer since taking over the reins from his father in 2006.

Has finished third in the trainers’ championship behind Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson for the past two seasons (2010/2011 & 2011/2012). Currently lies third in this season’s championship (based on prize money), adrift of Nicholls and Henderson again, but has sent out more winners than either of those trainers. (121 up to and including February 24).

He has already trained one John Smith’s Grand National winner, Ballabriggs in 2011, and sent out six Cheltenham Festival victors.

Has also enjoyed notable success on the Flat with Overturn, successful in the Northumberland Plate in 2010 and the Chester Cup in 2011, and Ile De Re, who captured the same two heritage handicaps in 2012.

Born – June 13, 1970

Background – His father was Ginger McCain, trainer of the legendary Red Rum, the only horse to win the John Smith’s Grand National three times (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also Amberleigh House, the 2004 victor.

First rode under Rules aged 15, finishing last in a mile contest for amateurs at Haydock Park on May 3, 1986. Subsequently rode 50 winners over jumps.

Spent two and a half years working for Luca Cumani before becoming pupil assistant to Oliver Sherwood. Continued to work on the Flat during the summer with spells at Sir Michael Stoute, Chris Wall and Sean Woods.

Assisted his father until taking over the licence in June, 2006. Wife Sian trains point-to-pointers. They have two children, Abbie and Ella.

First winner as a trainer – Bearaway, Newton Abbot, June 8, 2006

 

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL WINS (6)

William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2012 Cinders And Ashes)

OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (2008 Whiteoak)

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (2010 Peddlers Cross),

Coral Cup (2012 Son Of Flicka)

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Handicap Chase (2007 Cloudy Lane, 2010 Ballabriggs)

 

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL WINS BY YEAR

2007 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Handicap Chase (Cloudy Lane)

2008 – OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Whiteoak)

2010 – Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Peddlers Cross), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Ballabriggs)

2012 – William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Cinders And Ashes), Coral Cup (Son Of Flicka)

 

OTHER BIG RACE WINS INCLUDE

Charlie Hall Chase (2011 Weird Al)

Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (2011 Hollow Tree)

Galway Hurdle (2010 Overturn), Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (2010 Any Given Day), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2010 Peddlers Cross & 2011 Overturn)

John Smith’s Grand National (2011 Ballabriggs),

John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2010 Peddlers Cross)

Scottish Champion Hurdle (2010 Overturn)

 

NOVICE HURDLER

SHE RANKS ME (IRE)

6 gr m Golan (IRE) – Rosealainn (IRE) (Roselier (FR))

Form: 5/44679-421123112  Owner: Roger O’Byrne   Breeder: Patrick O’Keeffe

Summary

Transformed since joining Donald McCain from Ireland over the summer, winning four of her eight starts over hurdles for him including Listed contests at Newbury and Haydock in December. Chased home highly-regarded French import Utopie Des Bordes in a two and a half mile Listed event at Sandown on February 15.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 15; Wins: 4; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £41,665

 

Last Run

Second of six in the Listed Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles at Sandown (heavy) on February 15, kept on when beaten a length and three quarters by Utopie Des Bordes.

 

Entries so far at The Festival      Distance Value

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle   2m 5f  £120,000

will also be entered in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

 

Donald McCain said: “The obvious place to go is the mares’ race and there is one mare head and shoulders above the rest (Quevega). She Ranks Me has an each-way chance but we will also consider the Neptune where she gets a mare’s allowance. It is a bit up in the air at the moment. She is in great nick. The ground  was OK at Haydock but she could not get out of it at Sandown the other day and still ran a nice race. She has done nothing wrong all season.”

 

NOVICE CHASERS

OVERTURN (IRE)

9 b g Barathea (IRE) – Kristal Bridge (Kris)

Jump Form: 4432111/212573/111232-111 Owner: Tim Leslie Breeder: Pendley Farm

 

Summary

Top-class dual code performer; front runner;  won the 2010 Northumberland Plate and 2011 Chester Cup on the Flat. Has captured a number of big prizes over obstacles including the Galway Hurdle and Grade One stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle; also finished second in last season’s Stan James Champion Hurdle. Impressive start to chasing career this term with three wins from as many starts, making all to win unchallenged at Sandown, Doncaster and Musselburgh.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 22; Wins: 10; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £489,175

 

Last Run

 

Won a two-mile novices’ chase at Musselburgh (good to soft) very easily by 29 lengths on February 3.

 

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase     2m  £150,000

Stan James Champion Hurdle      2m 110y £400,000

 

Donald McCain said: “Everybody knows Overturn. We hoped to he would take to fences and he has took to them better than we could have hoped. Everything has gone very smoothly – we have got in all the runs we wanted. He is in great nick at home and we thoroughly look forward to the race. All we need now is a bit of good ground for the first day of The Festival. He loves it, coming out every day wanting to get on – it makes you smile. When he ran in the Champion Hurdle last year, it was probably the only time when I have seen him shattered. We brought him out the next day and he wanted to go again – that is just him. He just cannot get enough of the job. He has been on the go since he was a yearling and we keep expecting him to cry enough at some point but he just thrives on his job and racing.  I have run him once or twice when I shouldn’t have because he will kid you he is in better nick than he is.  I ran him in the Christmas Hurdle the year before last and he wasn’t half the horse he normally is. We know him well now. We go there with a feeling that his way of racing will make it very difficult for Simonsig. We aren’t going to have to change anything with Overturn. His ratings are 112 on the Flat, 166 over hurdles and 165 over fences, and 85 on the all-weather! A great credit to him. I would love Overturn to have his big day jumping. He has this gallop for two miles – he keeps galloping and is just so enthusiastic. Touch wood, the jumping has gone with it. Simsonsig has been very impressive but he hasn’t been second in the Champion Hurdle.”

 

SUPER DUTY (IRE)

7 b g Shantou (USA) – Sarah’s Cottage (IRE) (Topanoora)

Form: 1/11F12-2212  Owner: Brannon, Dick, Hernon & Holden Breeder: Mrs A Connolly

 

Summary

High-class hurdler, winning three times as well as runner-up to Simonsig in a Grade Two at Aintree in April, 2012. Also filled the runner-up spot on his first two chase starts this season at Carlisle and Haydock before becoming a 14-length winner over an extended two and a half miles at Cheltenham (the Shloer Novices’ Chase) in December. Returned from a short break to finish a close second in the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on February 2.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 10; Wins: 5; 2nd: 4; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £53,851

 

Last Run

Second of six in the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby (soft) on February 4, beaten a head by Goulanes.

 

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

JLT Specialty Handicap Chase      3m 110y £90,000

RSA Chase        3m 110y £150,000

Jewson Novices’ Chase      2m 4f  £100,000

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase    3m 1f 110y £60,000

 

Donald McCain said: “I had been very tempted to concentrate Super Duty on the Kim Muir but I am starting to think strongly about running him in the RSA. He has never had his ground this year – he is tough as nails. He gave 7lb to Dave Pipe’s horse at Wetherby and has Cheltenham experience. I think take out Dave’s horse and it looks a very open RSA. Super Duty would have to carry nearly top-weight in the Kim Muir – we have done it before and it would not unduly bother me but we have started to become quite tempted by the RSA. Cheltenham has been the plan for a long time and he has done nothing to suggest we shouldn’t go there. He got mugged late on at Wetherby where the ground was horrible. I think there will be a big improvement on better ground. He would not have beaten Simsonsig last season at Aintree but he was still running his race when he made a very bad mistake at the second last.”

 

HURDLERS

CINDERS AND ASHES

6 b g Beat Hollow – Moon Search (Rainbow Quest (USA))

Form: 11250/21111-25  Owner: Dermot Hanafin & Phil Cunningham Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd

 

Summary

High-class performer in bumpers two seasons ago, winning twice and coming home fifth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival. Won four of his five starts over hurdles last season, culminating with a comfortable length and a quarter success in the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival. Failed to reproduce that form this season, finishing 12 lengths behind Countrywide Flame in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle before trailing home fifth in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 12; Wins: 6; 2nd: 3; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £110,912

 

Last Run

Fifth of seven in the Grade One williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle over two miles at Kempton Park (heavy) on December 26, beaten 12 and a half lengths.

 

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

Stan James Champion Hurdle      2m 110y £400,000

 

Donald McCain said: “He will go to Bangor for a gallop after racing tomorrow. He seems in great nick, he has really come to. The gallop is drying up and he is happier. I have said it before, he is very much a decent ground horse. The easiest thing would have been not to run him anywhere this season, which would not have done him any good. The worst thing that could happen was he could get beat and he has got beat a couple of times and well beat. But I don’t think he can be judged until he gets his ground. I am very happy with him at home. I like to think we will see a completely different horse in two week’s time on Champion Hurdle Day. He can run a big race – this horse has tactical speed and switches off. If you watch him at Kempton (last run), he went to pick up off the last turn but could not quicken in the ground. It was my decision to run him – I thought the best thing was to get some practice into him. I would not judge him on anything you have seen this season. He was bought for £4,500 at Doncaster – a two-year-old Juddmonte cast-off who was wrong in the wind. We hobdayed him, cut him and turned him out. He has done me a few favours since then. Hurricane Fly sets the benchmark and is the one to beat.”

 

PEDDLERS CROSS (IRE)

8 b g Oscar (IRE) – Patscilla (Squill (USA))

Form: 11111/1127/1128-21  Owner: Tim Leslie  Breeder: Mrs A Delaney

 

Summary

Top-class staying novice hurdler in 2009/10 season, annexing the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival and a Grade Two at Aintree’s John Smith’s Grand National meeting. Returned the following season with an impressive success in thestanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle  over two miles and rounded the campaign off with a gallant second to Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at The Festival. Failed to scale those heights over fences last season but scored decisively on his return to hurdles this season at Musselburgh on February 13.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 15; Wins: 10; 2nd: 3; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £285,653

 

Last Run

Won a conditions hurdle over two miles and six furlongs at Musselburgh (good) comfortably by a length and three quarters on February 13 and is being aimed at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

 

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

Stan James Champion Hurdle      2m 110y £400,000

Ladbrokes World Hurdle      3m  £275,000

 

Donald McCain said: “It has been a long road back – he has had niggling problems. He is in great nick. His work has not changed and he went for a run around Kempton (in January) which he enjoyed and came on from. We took him up to Musselburgh the other day and I expected him to be more impressive. Jason (Maguire) was shocked by my attitude. He was happy with Peddlers Cross who travelled well before idling in front before picking up again – Jason was trying to mind him the whole way up the straight. He is a very smart horse – his work is very special. He has always dossed in front. Will he win a World Hurdle? I haven’t got a clue to be honest. He is the best work horse I have seen – he is maturing and settling. His jumping at Musselburgh was exceptional. I would expect him to be travelling very sweetly down to the second last and then I don’t know. He won over two miles and five furlongs as a novice and he stayed two miles and six furlongs well at Musselburgh. There is nothing to suggest he won’t stay three miles. He will get there quite late (in the race).”

 

SON OF FLICKA

9 b g Groom Dancer (USA) – Calendula (Be My Guest (USA))

Form: 1/2222126/F73U236/191825322F/90901F-8000  Owner: Twenty Four Seven Recruitment

Breeder: Chieveley Manor Stud

 

Summary

Has won five of his 35 starts under Rules including last season’s Coral Cup at The Festival and also finished second in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in 2011. He has been well beaten in four starts this season.

Race Record: Starts: 35; Wins: 5; 2nd: 9; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £87,584

 

Last Run

12th of 18 in the Listed Lanzarote Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs at Kempton Park (soft) on January 12, beaten 102 lengths.

 

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

Coral Cup        2m 5f  £80,000

Pertemps Final        3m  £80,000

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle   2m 4f 110y £50,000

 

Donald McCain said: “He was second at the Cheltenham Festival before last and won the Coral Cup last year. He is in three handicaps there this time – where we go I don’t quite know. There will be an input from the owner (Phil Williams).  He has been disappointing this winter – he hasn’t liked the ground but he has been disappointing. Last year he was similar but came back a couple of weeks before The Festival  in good nick. He seems to like the place and we are looking forward to sending him there again. He is a grand little horse, as tough as nails. He is a pound or two higher than last year – he probably goes for the Coral Cup but we will keep our options open for now. Phil likes a bet and the first I knew of it was on the morning of the race last year. He won over £900,000.”

 

CHASER

OUR MICK

7 gr g Karinga Bay – Dawn’s Della (Scottish Reel)

Form: 1/22312F/5311133-U Owner:  K Benson & Mrs E Benson Breeder: K Benson & Mrs E Benson

 

Summary

Won once over hurdles and improved for the switch to fences last season, winning three of his eight starts including a Grade Two at Haydock in January, 2012. Finished third behind For Non Stop in a Grade One at Newbury the following month before filling the same position at The Festival in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase. Unseated his rider in his only start this season at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, January 26.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 15; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £39,766

 

Last Run

Unseated Jason Maguire three out in a two mile, five furlong handicap chase at Cheltenham (heavy) on January 26.

Entries at The Festival      Distance Value

JLT Specialty Handicap Chase      3m 110y £90,000

 

Donald McCain said: “He was third in the JLT as a novice last year and goes back to the same race. He ran a screamer last year – he made a couple of bad mistakes – he missed a fence going away from the stands and lost his confidence a little bit and still went there with a chance at the second last where he had a bad mistake. He is only a little bit higher in the handicap this year. He was upsides Katenko at Cheltenham the other day when Jason (Maguire) decided to jump off him! But he was running a big race on ground he would not like and I would have expected him to keep galloping. There was no other race I could run him in after that – he prefers going left-handed. So I sat tight and persuaded the owner to go straight to Cheltenham. A number of my horses will go to Bangor to work after racing tomorrow and he will be one of them. He is great nick – he has been ready to run for a couple of weeks. I will be expecting a big run from him. He is not an old horse, still going the right way, still improving and tough.”

 

Other Horses

 

Real Milan – “He slipped up at Ascot the other day – Jason (Maguire) pulled him up very quickly and rightly so. He was two thirds of the way up to Newcastle on Saturday (past Wetherby) when they abandoned it. So we are a little bit lost at the moment. The travelling he had to do bothers me. We wanted to get another run into him – he is in the RSA and the four-miles (John Oaksey National Hunt Chase). He will go to Bangor for a gallop tomorrow. He is a smashing horse – very smart. Cheltenham is up in the sir – we will get a gallop into him and see. There is still strong possibility that he will go there – he is a fairly useful tool. He prefers better ground and might be an Aintree horse one day.”

 

Diamond King – “He won a bumper at Wetherby a couple of weeks ago and was mightily impressive. He is a beautifully bred horse. I didn’t really know what to expect the other day. I don’t know if it was a nothing bumper but he was so impressive that we have to seriously consider going to Cheltenham. He seems to have come out of his race fine. Nothing is off the bridle at home and we don’t try them. His first time away from home was at Wetherby. He was just so professional and straight as a gun barrel. Jason (Maguire) gave him one smack and he took off. Graham (Whateley) sent me three horses of this type. He has schooled well over hurdles and will make an even better chaser. He is a big, strong horse.”

 

Tuesday, March 12 – entries

Overturn, Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Our Mick, JLT Specialty Handicap Chase

Lively Baron, JLT Specialty Handicap Chase

Super Duty, JLT Specialty Handicap Chase

Overturn, Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Peddlers Cross, Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Cinders And Ashes, Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Real Milan, Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase

Swift Arrow, Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase

Kruzhlinin, Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase

 

Wednesday, March 13 – entries

Red Rocco, John Oaksey National Hunt Chase

Real Milan, John Oaksey National Hunt Chase

She Ranks Me, Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

Real Milan, RSA Chase

Super Duty, RSA Chase

Any Given Day, Coral Cup

Bourne, Coral Cup

Son Of Flicka, Coral Cup

Hollow Tree, Coral Cup

Counsel, Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Aazif, Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Halogen, Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Thursday, March 14 – entries

Desert Cry, Jewson Novices’ Chase

Super Duty, Jewson Novices’ Chase

Any Given Day, Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle)

Son Of Flicka, Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle)

Hollow Tree, Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle)

Any Given Day, Ladbrokes World Hurdle

Peddlers Cross, Ladbrokes World Hurdle

Hollow Tree, Ladbrokes World Hurdle

Lively Baron, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders)

Super Duty, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders)

 

Friday, March 15 – entries

Counsel, JCB Triumph Hurdle

Aazif, JCB Triumph Hurdle

Bourne, Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle

Dreams Of Milan, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Bourne, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Son Of Flicka, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Hollow Tree, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Ubaltique, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Desert Cry, Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup Handicap

 

 

THE FESTIVAL 2013

 

First Day – Champion Day

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 (Old Course)     Distance Prize Money

1.30 William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One)  2m 110y  £120,000

2.05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade One)  2m  £150,000

2.40 JLT Specialty Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three)    3m 110y £90,000

3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle (Grade One)   2m 110y  £400,000

4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase (Handicap) 3m 7f  £50,000

4.40 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade Two)     2m 4f  £85,000

5.15 Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 110y £60,000

TOTAL £955,000

 

Second Day – Ladies Day

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 (Old Course)     Distance Prize Money

1.30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase (Amateurs)   4m  £85,000

2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 5f  £120,000

2.40 RSA Chase (Grade One)     3m 110y £150,000

3.20 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade One) 2m  £350,000

4.00 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade Three)   2m 5f  £80,000

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three)  2m 110y £75,000

5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade One)   2m 110y £60,000

TOTAL £920,000

 

Third Day – St Patrick’s Thursday

Thursday, March 14, 2013 (New Course)     Distance Prize Money

1.30 Jewson Novices’ Chase (Grade Two)    2m 4f  £100,000

2.05 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed)   3m  £80,000

2.40 Ryanair Chase (Grade One)     2m 5f  £275,000

3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade One)    3m   £275,000

4.00 Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade Three)   2m 5f  £90,000

4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateurs) 3m 1f 110y £60,000

5.15 St Patrick’s Derby (Charity Flat Race)    1m 5f  –

TOTAL £880,000

 

Fourth Day – Gold Cup Day

Friday, March 15, 2013 (New Course)     Distance Prize Money

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade One)     2m 1f  £120,000

2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three)  2m 1f  £80,000

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One)    3m  £120,000

3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade One)   3m 2f 110y £550,000

4.00 CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs)  3m 2f 110y £40,000

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle   2m 4f 110y £50,000

5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110y £90,000

TOTAL £1,050,000

 

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY AT THE FESTIVAL OF £3,805,000

(UP £425,000 ON 2012 TOTAL OF £3,380,000)

 

AVERAGE RACE VALUE £140,925

(£125,000 IN 2012)

 

I’n indebted to my friends at Racenews for the above content

WarnedOff

 

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