I fancied the ever improving Donald McCain yard to have a good Cheltenham Festival in 2012 and from the 19 runners the yard sent they returned with 2 wins and a couple of nice placed horses to boot. Just my luck then that despite my fancy, I ended up only backing a couple and no surprise they weren’t the winners.
From the 19, I’m sure Donald would have been disappointed with Peddlers Cross, Cloudy Lane and Bourne who failed to justify their favoured prices with the bookies.
The stable is consistently on the rise and the trainer tables for prize money show this with Donald McCain finishing 13th, 8th, 3rd & 3rd in the last 4 seasons. Last year’s 153 winners looks under threat with his 56 winner so far this season beating the 53 winners at this stage last year.
With 3rd place seemingly sewn up, I believe the next step to make an impact on ‘big two’ of Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls will be to pick up some of the big festival races in spring.
GGHofman has already written a fantastic piece on Supreme Novices Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes’ season ahead and his future attempt to break the hoodoo in the Champion Hurdle.Overturn is set to take to fences this season
The gallant, dual purpose Overturn is more or less a certainty to show up at the festival after his 2nd in the Champion Hurdle. He will be tried over fences this season, and that will open up a host of options with the Arkle being a real chance if jumps fences as well as he does hurdles.
Weird Al went off joint 3rd favourite for the Gold Cup this year, but a burst blood vessell put paid to his chances and he never travelled through before being pulled up. That’s consecutive Gold Cup’s where has been pulled up due to broken blood vessel and it would suggest he doesn’t handle the courses stiff fences if it were not for his previous two wins there in 2009. If the Gold Cup is bypassed I can see him being aimed for a good go at the Grand National, and Donald has so far all but confirmed at this route being taken.Plenty of options over hurdles for Peddlers Cross
This season looks like a return to hurdles for Peddlers Cross after not taking to top class chasing. McCain has already stated he will start off at the minimum trips where he has 6 wins from his 7 runs, the only blot being a runner up finish to Hurricane Fly in last years Champion Hurdle. Might want further now though, and has been mentioned for a possible tilt at the World Hurdle. I’m sure Donald will use every available opportunity to test exactly the right distance for Peddlers Cross to produce his best at Cheltenham.
Super Duty would have been a lot closer than 15 lengths to Simonsig had he not nearly fallen at the 2nd last in the Mersey Novices Hurdle at the Aintree Festival. Don’t think he would have won as Simonsig was upsides, but it would have been closer. Is set for fences this season and jumped well on debut when finding one too quick over 16 furlongs. His hurdle jumping was littered with a few mistakes, but it looks like the concentration required over fences could be the making of him and the Jewson looks a likely target if all goes well.
Donald has already sent out some nice types this autumn and the likes of Clondaw Kaempfer and Grouse Lodge have impressed in getting the job done on their novice hurdle outings so far. It’s a little too early to start picking out some the novice hurdlers and chasers from the stable, but I’d recommend keeping a close eye on them as I have no doubt the McCain stable will have some very good horses at the Cheltenham Festival.