Tag Archive for: Mr McCann

Owen and Palmer harbouring high hopes for new partnership

Michael Owen and Hugo Palmer have been thrilled with the start their new association has made and have big ambitions going forward.

Palmer replaced Tom Dascombe at Owen’s Manor House Stables and is already among the winners, which bodes well considering half his string have had to settle into new surroundings.

With Dubawi Legend boasting solid claims in Saturday’s 2000 Guineas and Owen’s favourite meeting, the Boodles Chester May Festival on the horizon, there was no time for a settling in period.

To top it all, there is even the prospect of an Investec Derby challenge from Mr McCann, owned by half a dozen of Owen’s friends from his former club Liverpool.

“I’m loving life up here and the most important thing is that the horses have settled in,” said Palmer.

Hugo Palmer oversees his string
Hugo Palmer oversees his string (Nick Robson)

“I was always a bit twitchy, largely because the world is full of naysayers who questioned doing it so close to the season but there’s been nothing to worry about, we’ve run an enormous amount of tests and continue to do so and not a single horse who moved has been off their food – as that would be their first sign of protest.

“The few who have run have run well and I’m very excited about the season going forward.”

Owen and Palmer were friends before the more formal arrangement began but to begin with Palmer had no intention of uprooting from Newmarket, his home for the previous 10 years.

“Michael Owen is a very persuasive man. We’ve known each other for a long time and he first asked me in December to come, to which I said no,” said Palmer.

“He asked a couple of weeks later and my answer was still no, but it wasn’t until he rang on January 2 when I was up in Scotland when he talked me into having a look.

“It’s a fabulously impressive place and if I convinced myself that I could do the job here better than in Newmarket and if I could convince the critical mass of the owners, then we were on – luckily the answer to both was yes.

“We’re both hugely ambitious. I’ve always wanted to get to the top and I believe we have the facility and the opportunity here to do that. A lot of the biggest yards are a long way from Newmarket. Obviously there are some big yards there but the likes of Johnston, Easterby, Beckett, Fahey, Hannon and others aren’t. We want to be up there with them.

“Horseracing is not entirely a numbers game, but if we want to be in the top 10 and have huge success, you’ve got a better chance with a few more horses.”

Owen has owned Manor House for 18 years but admits the recent change of personnel has given him a new lease of life.

He said: “I used to go to Newmarket for the sales and the races and we had a mutual friend in Ed Sackville, the bloodstock agent, and I used to stay at Hugo’s sometimes when I went down.

“When myself and Tom parted company, I called Hugo for advice as a friend at first. I’d be going down the list of trainers thinking who I had a chance of getting, not thinking I’d be able to persuade Hugo.

“I cheekily asked him first time and got the response I thought I’d get, but then the more we talked, the more I tried to convince him and here we are now. I’m delighted with how it’s all gone.

“We’ve done loads of work already, there’s loads of work to do, but there’s a real combined thirst to make a special place into something even more.

“Sadly I can’t do anything without attempting for it to be the best. In some ways that’s a good trait, but it can be dangerous in other ways. I want to give Hugo the tools to enable him to be the best he can be.”

Michael Owen in front of a heated horse walker, used when the string exit the swimming pool
Michael Owen in front of a heated horse walker, used when the string exit the swimming pool (Nick Robson)

He went on: “I don’t really have an end goal. There’s no specific race I want to win, but I just want a really strong business with a brilliant trainer and hopefully we’ll have a load of success and fun together.

“I bounce out of bed at the moment, but I am that type of person anyway. I have to have a purpose in life, but at the minute the only problem I have is not wanting to go to work, as I want to go to the yard. It’s very exciting.”

With a possible pair of runners in the tote+ Chester Cup in Saturday’s Ripon winner Rajinsky and one of the ante-post favourites Solent Getaway, the yard is likely to be well represented, but Palmer admitted he is likely to field as stronger side numerically in the future.

There is one interesting possible in the Derby trial – the Dee Stakes – in Mr McCann.

Mr McCann is owned by some Liverpool players and could run in the Derby
Mr McCann is owned by some Liverpool players and could run in the Derby (Martin Rickett/PA)

Owen explained: “It all began when a horse called Mrs Milner won at Cheltenham and I text James Milner about it, a few more texts followed and in a couple of weeks I’d sold him a horse!

“Along with Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana (now Brighton), I keep having to tell them it isn’t always like this.

“He won three times as a two-year-old, including an entry into the Derby when the step up in trip brought out some improvement at Epsom. Should he run there, the season will be over, so there’s a chance they could make it.”

Palmer added: “He’ll go there (Chester) ready, but just ready. If we had any hold-up in the next two weeks, we might have to wait. Even Lingfield gives us an extra few days and there’s Goodwood.

“We’ll see how he gets on in a Derby trial. He’s also in the French Derby and the German Guineas.

“Everything he’s shown us so far says that he will stay a mile and a quarter, and they always say if you’re guaranteed to stay a mile and a half you’re too slow for the Derby!”

Mr McCann puts Reds on course for 2022 Derby day

Mr McCann earned his famous footballing connections a potential day at the 2022 Derby with victory in the Cazoo Derby “Wild Card” EBF Conditions Stakes at Epsom.

Trained by Tom Dascombe, the Kodiac colt has run a string of fine races in good company this season, not least when beaten less than three lengths by Native Trail in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July Meeting.

Having started his campaign at five furlongs and never before gone beyond seven, this represented a different test altogether for a horse named after Liverpool’s press officer, Matt McCann, and owned by a group of current and former Liverpool players which includes James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Adam Lallana and England star Jordan Henderson.

His cause was helped when odds-on favourite Goldspur, who had been so impressive on his debut at Sandown, became upset in the stalls and was withdrawn. But Richard Kingscote rode a masterful race from the front on the 4-1 chance and pulled nicely clear of Austrian Theory to win by five and a half lengths, seeing out the extended mile with aplomb.

The success gives Mr McCann and his owners automatic entry to the premier Classic, although does not guarantee a run. He was given a 66-1 quote by Paddy Power.

The winning jockey told Racing TV: “He knows the drill and is very professional. Tom was confident the mile would help him, so we jumped out, got in a rhythm – and away we went.

“I thought early on maybe he was just moving a bit too well for the slower ground, but to be fair he handled the track very well and he skipped away up the straight.

“He’s progressed well – he’s danced a few dances and has had a solid year. Tom has done a great job, and it’s nice for him to pick this up – I think the extra trip is opening more doors for him. He’s a likeable horse.”

After winning with his only ride of the day, Kingscote could switch his attention to battling fuel queues before riding at Newcastle on Monday.

He added: “I’m having a reasonably quiet week this week – I’m going up to Newcastle on Monday. Hopefully I can get some diesel and get a few winners on the board!”

Liverpool aces have Superlative chance with Mr McCann

Mr McCann will carry the colours of famous footballing connections as he bids for Group Two glory in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Third on his debut at Leicester in June, the Tom Dascombe-trained colt has since gone on to take two novice contests, most recently triumphing at Haydock when landing a seven-furlong contest by two and three-quarter lengths.

This represents a significant step up in class, as the bay is introduced to Group company for the first time, but Dascombe feels he has earnt the right to take his chance at a higher grade.

“He’s done basically everything we’ve asked of him so far,” the trainer said.

“It’s obviously a big step up in grade but he deserves this opportunity, it was always the plan to run him over seven (furlongs).”

Mr McCann will be partnered by Jane Elliott, who is based at Dascombe’s Cheshire yard and will have a significant chance of a significant weekend winner.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Jane as well, for her to have a big winner,” Dascombe said.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

The two-year-old is named after Liverpool Football Club’s press officer, Matt McCann, and is owned by a group of current and former Liverpool players that includes James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Adam Lallana and England star Jordan Henderson.

“It’s nice that we’ve been able to buy them a horse that’s doing quite well, just like it is with any of my owners,” Dascombe added.

Tom Dascombe has two leading chances in the Superlative Stakes
Tom Dascombe has two leading chances in the Superlative Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Dascombe also runs Mot And The Messer, a Cotai Glory colt who was an impressive winner when last seen in a Ripon novice race, winning by five and a half lengths.

“Mot And The Messer is also a very straightforward horse,” Dascombe said.

“He’s done nothing wrong at all and he deserves his chance at a higher grade.

“They’re two really good chances.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Dhabab will have plenty of supporters after his sixth-placed Coventry Stakes performance at Royal Ascot, with Charlie Appleby’s Native Trail also well-fancied after winning his sole start at Sandown in June.

Appleby also runs Private Signal, with Tom Clover’s Papa Cocktail and Mark Johnston’s Austrian Theory also in action.

Great Max represents Michael Bell after finishing third in the Chesham Stakes at the Royal meeting, with Andrew Balding’s Masekela also lining up having been fifth in the same race.

Liverpool aces celebrate Haydock winner with Mr McCann

Mr McCann looks like being an exciting first foray into racehorse ownership for a group of Liverpool players – which includes captain Jordan Henderson – following his second career victory in the British EBF Novice Stakes at Haydock.

Henderson owns the youngster along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Andrew Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Brighton’s former Red Adam Lallana.

Bought at the breeze-ups in April by Tom Dascombe and bloodstock agent Ed Sackville for £65,000 the Kodiac colt was beaten three-quarters of a length on his debut over five furlongs.

He then won at Lingfield over six and defied a penalty on this occasion as he made all over seven by two and three-quarter lengths under Jane Elliott.

Dascombe now has to decide whether to throw him into a higher grade in the coming weeks or give him a break after his 22-1 success.

“He was very impressive. I thought he got a great ride from Jane, she steadied it up and then kicked on. He’s possibly beaten some nice horses, but only time will tell,” said Dascombe.

“I was very happy with the performance today – the only surprise was the price, but it is very hard to give those 6lb penalties away to horses who have already had a run.

“That trip looked fine. We ran him over five on debut as he came from the breeze ups, so we needed to take the fizz out of him – but he nearly won that day even and he’s not far off being unbeaten.

“We’ll have to go up in grade now, but as he came from the breezes he’s basically run four times. We could look at the Superlative Stakes, but that could be being greedy. We might just sit on him for a bit longer and find something else. He deserves a crack at a nice race.”

Of buying a horse for the star footballers, he added: “We went to the sales to buy them something that would be ready to run, we didn’t want them to have to wait a year to run. Eddie O’Leary (vendor, Lynn Lodge Stud) was very positive about the horse and told us we wouldn’t be disappointed.”

With Henderson currently with the England squad into the last eight of the European Championships and the rest of the players enjoying their holidays, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who owns Dascombe’s Manor House Stables yard in Cheshire, was left to pick up the trophy – and created quite a scene.

Owen told Racing TV: “I think that was the most embarrassing moment of my life – but I promised the lads this morning I’d do the ‘Hendo Shuffle’ if he won.

“Six of the lads have just got into ownership. Ed Sackville and Tom picked a real good one in terms of what they needed. They are new into the game so they wanted an early, sharp, two-year-old but he looks more than that now – he was impressive giving a penalty away.

“I never backed him myself but I’m sure the lads did, they did last time and it’s a perfect start to ownership for them. Hopefully they get the bug and they are in it for a long time.”

Elsewhere on the card John and Thady Gosden enjoyed a double with Side Shot (5-1) in the Watch On RacingTV Handicap and Albert Camus (13-2) in the racingtv.com Handicap. Both were ridden by Robert Havlin.