Donald McCain Blog – Weekend Runners + Exclusive Q & A

Donald McCain
Donald McCain

It’s been a pretty good week with both Henry’s Joy who jumped a lot better and The Some Dance Kid winning. Like so many other trainers we are still having to be selective with our runners.

I was delighted to get all your questions on Twitter yesterday and I have tried to answer as many as possible:

Q & A:

Have you any Cheltenham prospects?

Cheltenham prospects are few and far between, if I have any horses good enough for those races and there is a choice, then my owners are likely to choose Aintree just because of where we are located.

There are some horses that may end up there but that will depend on what happens over the weekend with Mount Mews and a few others over the coming weeks.

What’s your plan with Pogue for the rest of the season?

We just want to get him running, he ran a nice race at Bangor the first day and I had him in this weekend but surprisingly for January, the ground was just quick enough. He was bought to be a quality staying chaser which hopefully he could be so it would be wrong to mess him up at the moment.

There are no great plans at the moment but if he could nick a race or two and have him in one piece, he will be a nice novice chaser for next season.

If you were put in charge of the BHA for a day what changes would you make?

I have a real issue with the fact that there is no real break in the National Hunt season. I think it is very unhealthy, especially when we are talking about trying to retain staff. There needs to be a real start and finish to the season so we can get people excited about the start of the season.

I would also take some of the power away from the racecourses as to what races they are allowed to put on. At the moment there are some tracks that are putting on lesser races because it is cheaper to do so.

When is Ottonian out and how’s he doing?

Ottonian was bought as a longer-term prospect, he had an injury so he needs a bit longer and the focus will be for next season with him, all being well.

Hello, any update on when we’ll see Last But Not Least out? Also, Move To The Groove and Our Dancing Dandy? Thank you!

Our Dancing Dandy is in full work now but is a little bit behind, Move To The Groove is off for the short term, as he hurt his pelvis when he fell at Uttoxeter and unfortunately, we have decided to retire Last But Not Least, so she is off to stud.

What are Peddlers Cross and Overturn doing since retired?

Overturn is back at Tim Leslie’s and he comes here now and again when the weather gets too bad for short spells. As everyone knew there was only one-way Overturn knew how to do things and that was as fast as he could. So there wasn’t much else you could do with him but we see plenty of him.

Peddlers Cross is up with Brian and Jackie Storey doing the racehorse to riding horse classes. I believe he is hunting and eventing at the moment and will eventually make his way back to Mr Leslie’s too.

When is Chti Balko running again and will this be over 2 or 2 and a half miles?

The plan had been to have a very wet January and run him in the Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock, not that he’s good enough for a Champion Hurdle but he likes Haydock and he likes deep ground. It’s still the plan at the moment but it needs to start raining. He’s not particularly well handicapped but he’s very effective on bad ground.

Do you think we will ever see Red Rum’s Grand National record beaten?

No! Even if a horse wins three Grand Nationals, it will never stand out the same. A Grand National winner now goes up maybe five or six pounds for winning the race. When Red Rum won it, he went from 10-5 to 12 stone and carried close to that every year afterwards.

What happened with Same Circus today (10th January) please as seemed to get into the race quite comfortably then tamely dropped away?

They went a good gallop on quick ground, she’s only tiny and was carrying a big weight. She probably carried a bigger weight than I ever thought she would and when they quickened she just found it stretching her too much. She came back this morning with sore shins, which may also explain why she only jumped average too.

Hello boss. Has the yard got any planned entries in the national?

At present, I don’t think there will be any runners but that may change as I get more racing into some of the horses.

What’s your best chance of a winner at Cheltenham?

I’ll try to find something for the Kim Muir as I have won two and was beaten a short head in another.

We have nine runners this weekend and you can hear my views n their chances below:


 Wetherby – 12:30
Jockey: Brian Hughes

I thought he got stuck in the ground a little bit at Sedgefield the last day and quite often with these decent flat horse, a big fair track suits them better. He’s in good order and with a couple of runs under his belt, he should run well in a competitive looking race.

Val Mome
 Wetherby – 1:40
Jockey: Brian Hughes

He ran well the other day at Musselburgh and although we are going back a little bit quick with him but the ground is still there for him. It’s a lesser race which means he has more weight but if he runs the same way he has the last couple of tie, he won’t be far away.

Thyne For Gold
 Wetherby – 3:25
Jockey: Brian Hughes

He’s quite in and out with his run the last day only his second after a lengthy break, which hopefully explains why he didn’t run too well. He doesn’t truly seem to stay three miles either.

Artichoke Heart
 Wetherby – 3:55
Jockey: Jack Dinneen

In truth, I didn’t think much of her going there the last day and she ran a very nice race. I would always expect that there is something there in those mile and a half bumpers, with a flat pedigree that just didn’t make it as a flat horse, that may be too good.


The Herds Garden
 Kelso – 1:35
Jockey: Brian Hughes

It’s a valuable race where a few of the runner look out of form. We come here as an in-form horse and although we are running out of the handicap, it’s worth a try.

Mount Mews
 Kelso – 2:05
Jockey: Brian Hughes

Obviously, it’s his first run back for a long time, so I’m just hoping that he runs a nice race. He’s not a flash workhorse but his work has been solid and with the ground there to suit we need to get him out. He is seriously lacking in experience over fences really, so it’s a perfect race to start him off in.

Rose’s In The Rain
 Kelso – 2:40
Jockey: Brian Hughes

She probably wants a bit further and has had her problems but she’s not got the worst handicap mark in the world. So hopefully she shows something and in a race such as this it would be disappointing if she didn’t.

Lough Derg Jewel
 Kelso – 3:10
Jockey: Brian Hughes

He seemed to appreciate the small field the last day and another small field here will suit him. If he goes and runs the same race he ran the last day then he should go close.

Golden Investment
 Kelso – 3:40
Jockey: Brian Hughes

He can be quite in and out, he’s got blinkers on for the first time with me which hopefully sparks something in him. We all know he has the ability and we have spent a long time switching him off but we need to switch him on!

Best Chance: Lough Derg Jewel

Donald McCain Blog – Weekend Runners + Exclusive Q & A
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