THERE was only one inhospitable element when visiting Donald McCain’s Bankhouse Stables in Cholmondeley to review prospects for the coming weeks – and that was the weather. Despite the conditions, McCain said: “It’s business as usual.
“It’s hard with the snow as it’s arrived a month early this year. We not doing much here, just trotting.
“We are boxing horses on alternate days to use Tom Dascombe’s gallops.
“He was very helpful last year and it makes a big difference as it keeps an edge on the horses.
“Last year the snow didn’t seem to do too much damage and none of the horses have missed much up to now.
“The change did a bit of good as the horses came back fresh when the weather improved.”
The number of horses being trained at Bankhouse remains the same as last season following a decision to improve the overall quality of horses, rather than pursuing a policy of continual expansion.
He added: “I don’t find it easy to delegate and this job can run away with you, so 110 horses are plenty – for now!
“We are ahead of this time last year with a good team of owners, staff and jockeys and the horses have been running solidly all year.
“I have a huge amount of confidence in Jason (Maguire) and he’s one of the best three jockeys in the country.
“I’ve got a smashing bunch of really nice young horses. They are the ones that I am excited about.
“They’ve already won or been placed in bumpers and I’m looking forward to their next outings.”
Among the youngsters on the exciting list are Tornado Bob, an Irish bred five-year-old who was second at Newbury last month to the odds-on Kid Cassidy.
The field was well strung out and Tornado Bob not helped when hampered at the last and is sure to improve.
Following success in an Irish point-to-point, Railway Dillon, also five, was second to a well-backed David Pipe trained opponent at Uttoxeter last month.
The first two home finished 20 lengths ahead of the remainder – a good start to racing under rules.
Seen winning at Bangor-on-Dee at the November meeting, Kings Grace was also on McCain’s selection list when making all to win going away on his debut under rules and looks a decent prospect.
Dunowen Point, a four-year-old by Old Vic, raced keenly on his debut under rules at Hexham in October.
He was just touched off by a neck when conceding weight to the winner when sent off the odds-on favourite and is sure to be supported again on his next outing.
The question as to how good the unbeaten Peddlers Cross was debated over coffee in the McCain kitchen but remained unanswered.
After a decisive win in the Fighting Fifth on his seasonal debut, his next outing at Haydock Park in January is eagerly awaited.
Next Wednesday (December 15) is the date of the next scheduled meeting at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse.
There is an early start at 12.10pm and the two feature races are the £11,000 bongorondeeraces.co.uk Handicap Steeplechase run over the marathon trip of three miles six furlongs and the Alfa Aggregates Handicap Hurdle valued at £12,000.
Racing fans are reminded to vote for AP McCoy in the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.