The days of Peddlers Cross, Overturn, Ballabriggs, Whiteoak and Cinders And Ashes may be
in the past, but a new dawn is lighting up Bankhouse Stables.
After a period of rebuilding and restocking necessitated by the break-up with owners Paul
and Clare Rooney almost exactly three years ago, Donald McCain’s star is once again in the
There might not be a horse in the stable the calibre of Peddlers Cross just yet, but McCain has high hopes for a team which includes the very useful chaser Cloudy Dream plus a horse he is conspicuously sweet on, Uppertown Prince, who could take high rank in the novice chase division.
McCain is strengthening all the time. Only last week he took charge of the Elite
Racing-owned Constancio, an 85-rated middle-distance handicapper on the Flat for Jim
Bolger, and juvenile hurdle prospect Liva, his first horse for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Expect to see him have plenty of runners – and winners – on deep ground at Haydock this
winter once again, and keep an eye on two of his juvenile hurdlers, Breakfast and Ormesher, who are likely to continue their progress after making excellent starts to their new careers.
The appointment of Brian Hughes as stable jockey has already paid dividends – as McCain
says, “he’s been the standout jockey in the north over the last few years, and to have him
on-side can only be good for us” – and, while the yard is highly unlikely to get near its best
ever tally of 153 winners recorded during the 2011-12 campaign, a first century since
2013-14 would surely signal a complete recovery from the 2015 bombshell in impressively
Yard Bankhouse Stables, Cholmondeley, Cheshire
Started training June 2006
Horses in yard 110
Members of staff 35
Head lad Derwyn Williams
Assistant trainer Adrian Lane
Jockeys Brian Hughes, Will Kennedy
Conditional Lorcan Murtagh
Amateur Theo Gillard
Stable sponsor RaceBets
WINNERS IN BRITAIN
PROFIT/LOSS TO £1 STAKE
TOTAL PRIZE-MONEY IN 2017-18
Cacique (sire) – Wemyss Bay (dam)
Owner: G E Fitzpatrick
Form figures: 211134
Racing Post Rating: 127 (hurdles); official rating 126 (hurdles)
When I bought him off the Flat he had a bit of a reputation, but he’s done his job and gone
out and won three races over hurdles. He’s got an unorthodox head carriage – that’s just the
6g Authorized – Pentatonic
Mr D Owens
RPR 135h OR 130h
He was a cheap purchase last month considering he won a handicap hurdle at the big Galway meeting in August. He has his aches and pains, but clearly has an engine.
6g Balko – Ina Scoop
D G Carrington
RPR 147h OR 142h
He’s a great little horse who never runs a bad race. We’ve toyed with the idea of going
chasing, but are going to stay handicapping in two-mile soft-ground hurdles. He’s particularly effective at Haydock on deep ground.
8g Cloudings – Run Away Dream
RPR 162c 140h OR 157c 137h
We’re still learning about him. He’s a high-quality chaser who we’ll start off in the Old Roan
at Aintree. His work has been great and it’s nice to have him. He finished second to Altior in the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham a couple of seasons ago and is obviously a lovely horse to have around the place. Mr Hemmings has always been a big supporter of mine and we’ll make a plan with Mick Meagher as we go along.
6g Al Namix – Polismith
Green Day Racing
RPR 141c OR 142c
He has won nine races in less than two years. I took a chance with him over a longer trip on a couple of occasions at Cartmel in the summer. He won the first and would have won the second as well but for hitting a patch of false ground at the second-last. I think he’ll improve in two-mile handicap chases with the hood left off.
Race in focus
Danceintothelight loves Catterick, and I’m hoping the handicapper drops him enough so that he can get into a suitable race there this winter. Look out for him over 2m3f round there with my daughter Abbie on board.
9g Overbury – Vado Via
M4 Properties Ltd
137c 128h OR 130c 119h
He had a little knock after the Cross Country at Cheltenham in March and it’s taken us time
to get him back. He’ll go straight for the Becher or Grand Sefton at Aintree. Hopefully there’s a big day in him.
Fin And Game
6g Oscar – Miss Cilla
T G Leslie
RPR 133h OR 129h
He didn’t do a lot wrong on his first start novice chasing last Thursday at Carlisle. He jumped really well, and was just a bit fresh after getting lit up in the stables. I still get the impression that he’s playing at the job. The race we ran him in at Ayr in April probably wasn’t suitable. He’s definitely got an engine but maybe he doesn’t know it himself just yet. I hope the penny will drop.
4g Coastal Path – Gaelika
T G Leslie
He’s not a big horse, which is probably why he didn’t make huge money at the sales, but has grown over the summer. He was very impressive when winning his point-to-point in Ireland, and he’s sharp enough to be started off in a bumper. He’s one for the future.
9g Kutub – Karalee
RPR 139c 131h OR 132c 128h
He was a bit unlucky last season. At Aintree in December he was spooked when the flagman dropped his flag, and he lost 15 lengths at the start before being beaten a nose by Play The Ace. He was travelling very sweetly when he fell five out at Ayr later on, and will hopefully
9g Old Vic – Lady’s Gesture
T G Leslie
RPR 151c 131h OR 130c 129h
He’s had plenty of problems with his back. He ran a nice race over hurdles at Carlisle last
season when second to My Old Gold. It will be a case of finding the right race on the right
day with him – over hurdles or fences. He reappeared at Carlisle last Thursday, and travelled beautifully in a 3m handicap chase for a long way. In the short-term we’ll go back to a flat track and hurdles.
7g Robin Des Pres – Tudor Style
Deva Racing Knockrobin Partnership
129h OR 130h
He should have won more races than he has, but he’s been a little immature and just plays at the job a bit. I see him as a 3m staying novice chaser for races in the north. He’s been crying out for a fence.
8m Flemensfirth – Lakil Princess
Sarah Leslie and Beryl McCain
RPR 141c 135h OR 132c 132h
She left her season at Haydock in December. It was the first race of the day on very bad
ground and she and Jonniesofa took each other on for two miles; it was brutal up the straight. She went on to nick some black type at Leicester, but wasn’t herself. She’ll go back chasing and can hopefully win a decent staying handicap.
7g Multiplex – Sherry Darling
Mrs C P Lees-Jones
RPR 136c 134h OR 137c 122h
He’s doing his job really well and stays further than I thought he would. He was very tough at Cartmel and then improved again to win at Bangor. He doesn’t want deep ground.
If I could sum up last season in one word: Satisfying
7g Presenting – Kneeland Lass
RPR 150h 145c OR 140h 139c
He’s a nice horse who arrived in the summer. He had a ‘nearly’ season last year and appears fairly treated as a result. He’s grand, and will go chasing. I’m very happy with him. If we can get him switched off in staying handicap chases he should do well.
Rival to watch Altior. The art of being very good at something is the ability to make it look simple. You just know this horse always has everything covered.
7g Touch Of Land – La Principal
RPR 135h OR 135h
He’s a pretty useful horse. We sent him for a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Aintree to make him grow up a bit more – we did something similar with The Last Samurai. He missed last season but is cantering away and looks great. He’s every inch a chaser.
7g Indian Danehill – Our Ethel
Mr and Mrs G Calder and P M Warren
RPR 129h 122c OR 127h 122c
He’s been off the course quite a while and didn’t jump particularly well in his only race over
fences at Perth last September behind Ballyandy. He’s a very attractive horse and his work of late has been quite solid. He should find an opening or two in novice handicap chases up
Noah And The Ark
4g Vinnie Roe – Well Water
RPR 117h OR –
I was quite upset when I got into trouble over the way he was ridden at Bangor. My job as a trainer is to find a way for a horse to run its best race. We rode him differently that day, and I got fined and the horse banned basically for just doing my job. I think we’ve subsequently proved that’s the way to ride him as he came from well off the pace to win at Stratford and Kelso. They were both bad races, but he was quite impressive and is clearly going the right way.
5g Stowaway – Night Palm
Mr J Turner
21 (point form)
He’s slightly different to Gaelik Coast in that he is 17 hands – a tall, lean, striking grey. He
won a point-to-point a couple of weeks after he narrowly got beat on his debut. An intriguing horse who looks every inch a staying chaser, he is a nice prospect to have. Young recruits like him and Gaelik Coast are the future.
7g Protektor – Amicus
RPR 144c 139h OR 139c 128h
I bought him at the sales with no aspirations of trying to improve one of Nicky Henderson’s,
but because I think he can do well on deep-ground in the north. There is good prize-money
available for this type of horse at the likes of Newcastle, Ayr and Wetherby. He’s a great big
horse with a round action.
Raise A Spark
8g Multiplex – Reem Two
R Pattison and R Kent
RPR 140c 127h OR 134c 127h
He’s a fun horse who we bred – a little bit wild, but as tough as nails. He probably wants 2m on slow ground, and we’ll take our time and regroup after he ran a bit flat at Perth last time. He has a bit more ability than some g
chase was one of the races to be abandoned owing to the very high temperatures at that time of year.
5g Vinnie Roe – Bella’s Bury
Special Piping Materials Ltd
RPR 126h OR 125h
He’s only tiny, but hard as nails. He can be too brave for his own good and has taken a couple of falls, but has won two of his last four starts – minor events at Uttoxeter and Sedgefield. He’ll get 3m and will jump a fence at some stage.
10g Monsun – Sahool
RPR 137h OR 137h
I bought him in the summer of last year for my daughters Abbie and Ella to ride, and never
expected him to achieve the rating he now has. He’s an old horse with a high rating – which probably isn’t justified – so he’ll be hard to place. He’s only a pony, but has given everyone here great fun, and is a pleasure to have around.
7g Witness Box – Tanya Thyne
150c 134h OR 145c 134h
I trained his full-brother Wymott, who won a Grade 2 staying hurdle at Haydock, so I know
the family and they do have days when they disappoint a bit. Testify is very effective in small fields on bad ground as he showed at Haydock last winter. He was below his best in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham after making an early mistake. We’ve had his wind operated on and will be focusing on staying handicap chases at Haydock. He’s undoubtedly a useful horse – his brother finished sixth to Carruthers in the Hennessy – but I’m still trying to work him out.
6g Strategic Prince – Tarrawarra
T G Leslie
RPR 142h OR 140h
I’m very fond of this horse, and he’s arguably my best prospect. I bought him because of the way he jumped throughout when winning his point-to-point and I’m really looking forward to sending him chasing this winter. He ran a really nice race when fourth to Santini in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, and also finished runner-up in a Haydock Grade 2 on heavy ground before winning as he liked at Ayr. He’s one to be excited about.
William Of Orange
7g Duke Of Marmalade – Critical Acclaim
T W Johnson and G Maxwell
RPR 135h OR 134h
There are two Williams – he has his good days and his bad days. He’s been quite busy over
the summer and is best dropped right out in his races before being produced with a late
challenge. He also stays better now than we thought he would at one stage. He’s always
likely to pop up during the course of the season but you wouldn’t necessarily know when that day will be.