Paddy Corkery’s Master McShee could head for the Dublin Racing Festival after a memorable Grade One success in the Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick on Boxing Day.
The seven-year-old provided the trainer with his biggest winner to date when defeating Gordon Elliott’s 11-10 favourite Farouk D’alene by a short head.
Corkery’s runner was a 10-1 chance by contrast, but a good round of jumping kept him in touch with the runner up and he stayed on resolutely to pass him just before the post.
The victory was a significant milestone for Corkery, who trains just four horses from his base in Waterford alongside his work as a mechanic.
“To be able to compete in a Grade One is in an honour in itself, to win one is just fantastic for someone like me who only has a couple of horses,” he said.
“I’m doing it as a passion rather than for a job, so it means a lot as we’ve only got our own few horses.
“Gordon said his horse was the banker of the weekend, but I was quite confident going there to be honest because Master McShee was working exceptionally well.”
The gelding finished third behind Bob Olinger on his chasing debut in November and has some smart hurdling form having claimed second behind Supreme winner Appreciate It on his first run over obstacles.
On that occasion the two horses were 28 lengths clear of the rest of the field, with Master McShee an eight-and-a-half-length winner on his next outing before a Leopardstown victory at the Christmas meeting last year.
“The first day he ran in a maiden hurdle it took a very good horse to beat him in Appreciate It,” said Corkery.
“He had to really work, even though we weren’t really working that hard because it was our first day out.
“That day he and Appreciate It ran away from 12 horses and the next day he ran away from 19 horses by himself.
“Then he went to the race at the Dublin Christmas Festival (Leopardstown) and with very little experience, from the front and close to the pace, he beat a lot of good horses as well.”
The Dublin Racing Festival in February could be the next target for the bay, but Corkery remains mindful the horse burst a blood vessel when finishing seventh in the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the meeting last year.
“I’d probably look at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he burst a blood vessel and that’s in the back of my mind all the time,” he said.
“I very much have the welfare of the horse in my mind as well.”