Donald McCain’s promising Minella Drama has a handful of options after his victorious chasing debut at Uttoxeter.
The six-year-old has never been out of the first two in seven runs under rules and two in point-to-points, capping last season with a runner-up spot behind My Drogo in the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
At Uttoxeter on Friday, Minella Drama ran over fences for the first time in the Kalahari King Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase and was an emphatic near nine-length winner.
A jumping error over the penultimate fence caused a sole moment of doubt, something McCain attributed to the gelding’s hot temperament and consequent lack of schooling.
“He made the one mistake – but he’s had to do it all on his own with the hood on, which chills him out enough,” said the Cheshire trainer.
“Just because of the way he is, we can’t school him as much as we normally would – he gets a bit lit up at home, so he was always going to have to go out and learn it on the track.
“He’s jumped a clear round, and I think it’s slightly overlooked that it was a handicap at the end of the day, and he’s given lumps away to good horses and given them a fair beating – we were very pleased.”
McCain has always had a high opinion of Minella Drama, and may consider a step into graded company next.
“We fancied him at Aintree last year,” he added.
“We didn’t know My Drogo was as good as he was – but we fancied him, and he ran accordingly, with good horses behind him.
“It wasn’t a shock. We’ve thought plenty of him for a long time, (and) it’s nice to have his type of horse around the place.
“There’s a couple of races – there’s a novice chase at Carlisle, which is an obvious target; then there’s the Henry VIII, which is also a possibility, at Sandown the week after.
“We’re just going to see how he is over the next few days. There’s a small possibility that we could get him out very quickly if he was very fresh.”
McCain also provided an update on stablemate Minella Trump, who extended his unbeaten sequence to five when winning at Sedgefield last month.
The seven-year-old has entries at Aintree and Sandown this weekend, but the trainer is keen to preserve his growing confidence over fences and will not run him if conditions prove unsuitable.
“The ground looks better at Sandown at the moment – but to be honest, we’re in no hurry,” he said.
“We’ll just pick and choose, and if the right races comes along and we’re comfortable with it then we’ll run him
“He’s done nothing wrong. He’s learning his job nicely but he lost his confidence a bit last season, so we don’t want to undo all the work that we’ve done by over-facing him.
“He might not run anywhere yet (this week) – we’ll see what the opposition is like.”