Tag Archive for: Minella Trump

Magnificent Minella Trump makes it seven in a row

Donald McCain was thrilled to see Minella Trump extend his winning sequence to seven with a dominant front-running display at Catterick.

The seven-year-old appeared to have lost his way during his debut season over fences last season, but a switch back to hurdles saw him round off his campaign with victory at Perth.

Minella Trump has not looked back since, with an autumn hat-trick at the same Scottish venue followed by victories at Sedgefield and Sandown ahead of his latest assignment in North Yorkshire.

The Shantou gelding was taken on by just two rivals in the Lyn And Holly’s Big Birthday Celebrations Novices’ Chase – and it soon became a match after a couple of jolting early errors from Ask Paddington led to him being pulled up.

Baron De Middleton briefly threatened to make a race of it early in the home straight, but 1-2 favourite Minella Trump quickly asserted and came home with 21 lengths in hand under Brian Hughes.

McCain said: “I’m chuffed. He’s doing it at decent enough level and it takes a bit of doing.

“These things don’t happen very often. The last horse to win seven in a row for us was Peddlers Cross and I’ll never train another one of those. It was a different kettle of fish with him as that was expected – we never expected him to get beaten.

“This is a different story and a different type of horse, but for him to go through the grades and learn his job along the way is credit to him – he’s a star and I wouldn’t mind a few more like him, that’s for sure.”

Donald McCain has his string in excellent form
Donald McCain has his string in excellent form (Mike Egerton/PA)

With another rise in the handicap likely, Minella Trump will have to dip his toe into deeper waters at some stage, but McCain is in no rush to decide on where the bid for an eight-timer will take place.

He added: “Truthfully, I don’t know where we’ll go next. We’ll be governed by ground a little bit, so we’ll see what the weather does and we’ve got to see how he is.

“At some point he’s going to need a break, but I don’t think he’s taking too much of himself at the moment, so we’ll just have to see.

“We’re enjoying it and we’ll take him home and see where it takes us.”

Minella Trump was the first of three winners on the afternoon for the McCain-Hughes combination.

Minella Plus is another smart prospect for the team
Minella Plus is another smart prospect for the team (Mike Egerton/PA)

Recent Musselburgh scorer Minella Plus (2-7 favourite) doubled his tally over obstacles in the racingtv.com/freemonth Novices’ Hurdle, while the River Walk (9-2) carried the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings to a debut victory in the Racing Again 14th December Open NH Flat Race.

“Minella Plus is not over-big and won’t be wanting winter ground. He’s a little bit wild, but he’s learning his job and he’s done it well,” said McCain.

“It’s a crying shame Mr Hemmings has gone and we’re all training him winners at the moment.

“River Walk is a nice horse. I didn’t know if he’d win a bumper, to be honest, but he showed a good attitude and he’s got a proper staying pedigree.”

McCain in no hurry to map out Minella Trump target

Donald McCain is in no rush to decide the next plan of attack with Minella Trump after his progressive chaser completed a five-timer at Sandown on Sunday.

Having supplemented a Perth hat-trick with victory at Sedgefield last month, the seven-year-old continued on his steep upward curve with a successful raid south under Brian Hughes.

McCain believes his charge has benefited from taking small steps after losing his confidence over fences last season.

Reflecting on his latest success, the trainer said: “It was grand and the nice thing was it’s the best he’s jumped on the biggest track he’s jumped.

“I think between us all we thought we might be over-facing him a touch, but he jumped really well.

“This new novice handicap chase thing has really helped horses like him. Horses are now able to get a bit of confidence and step up through the ranks.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does and see what the weather does and play it by ear.

“Obviously he’s been busy, but my daughter Abbie rides him every day and knows him well enough, so if he’s fresh and well and the ground is still around we’ll go somewhere else.”

Another exciting novice chaser for the McCain team this term is Minella Drama.

Minella Drama (centre) scoring at Uttoxeter
Minella Drama (centre) scoring at Uttoxeter (Tim Goode/PA)

Runner-up to My Drogo in a Grade One novice hurdle at Aintree in the spring, the Flemensfirth gelding bolted up on his fencing debut at Uttoxeter before going down by a short head at Carlisle on Monday.

McCain added: “I was not as bothered about getting beaten as Brian (Hughes) was – Brian feels if he’d had his time again he’d have won.

“It was a messy race with horses all over the place. It’s easy afterwards, when you can say you should have bounced him out and got on with it and then the only mistakes are your own.

“It’s almost certainly cost him the race on the day, but we’re trying to make the horse at the same time, especially when you’re looking to go further, so you try to do the job a certain way.

“Plans are up in the air. Brian thinks we should stay at two miles, I don’t know if we need to go a bit further.

“If he’d have won on Monday we’d definitely have gone to Sandown for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, but we’ll see.”

McCain assesses options for Minella Drama

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.

Minella Trump has won his last five races
Minella Trump has won his last five races (Mike Egerton/PA)

“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.”