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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.

Solent Gateway records notable success for Tom Dascombe

Rank outsider Solent Gateway claimed the narrowest of victories after a thrilling climax to the opening race on Cazoo Derby day Epsom.

Having finished a well-beaten ninth at Chester just a week ago, Tom Dascombe’s charge was a largely unconsidered 28-1 shot for the World Pool At The tote Handicap in the hands of Hayley Turner.

Greatgadian looked likely to prevail after powering to the front inside the final furlong, but both Solent Gateway and King Frankel (5-2) lunged late and flashed by the post almost as one.

Following a brief wait, the judge confirmed the former had won the day by a nose, with Greatgadian half a length away in third.

Dascombe, surprisingly saddling his first ever winner at Epsom, said: “Epsom is the only Flat track I’ve never had a winner at. I took a two-year-old there on Friday (Flaming Rib) and strongly expected that to win and it finished second and I just thought ‘I’m never going to get a winner at Epsom’.

“Derek Passant is a joint-owner is a great fellow and I couldn’t be more happy for him. He is there and I’m not and I feel a bit embarrassed, but I had already committed to go to another owner’s birthday in deepest, darkest Wales.

“Derek wanted to go to Epsom, but I didn’t think he would get in so I took him to Chester last week to try to get a penalty. As it turned out we didn’t need to have done that as this race never filled up and we got in fine. I’m delighted to win a race like this with a maiden.

Solent Gateway gets up on the line
Solent Gateway gets up on the line (John Walton/PA)

“Maybe he has just started to grow up and the two runs in a week has helped him.”

He added: “I think he will get further, but we will not worry about that and we will just enjoy today first and foremost. To get a winner on Derby day is pretty special and a huge thrill.

“I’m sure he will now go up a few pounds for that, but we will make another plan at a later date.”