It may well have been a miserable, wet and windy day at Haydock Park yesterday but that didn’t stop local lad Donald McCain banging in 4 winners and further enhancing his burgeoning reputation as a trainer on his way to the top.
His four-timer yesterday took his tally of winners at the track since 2006 to an impressive 38 – overall figures of 38/176 | 22% S/R | +£22.51 BFLSP – Win & Place 68/176 | 39% S/R. His nearest rival with regards to winners is Sue Smith who has saddled 16 winners in the same time frame. The word ‘domination’ springs to mind!
26 of the 38 winners have been ridden (unsurprisingly) by stable jockey Jason Maguire – 26/81 | 32% S/R | +£42.42 BFLSP – Win & Place 42/81 | 52% S/R – and it is that pairing that I want to concentrate on today.
The McCain/Maguire Haydock juggernaut
25 of their winners didn’t wear any headgear….
In fact only 5 of the partnerships 81 runners actually wore headgear. McCain obviously likes winning at Haydock so essentially he wants to go there with the most straightforward animals in his string. The stat perhaps again also highlights the fact McCain isn’t one to just throw headgear on a horse unless he either deems it absolutely necessary or he is confident it will improve performance (take a look at my previous Blog post on McCain and Maguire).
*It should be noted that the one winner that was wearing headgear was a blinkered runner in a Selling hurdle race; a tricky customer running in a race full of similarly tricky customers!
Their record in Grade 2 contests is impressive….
10 runners | 6 winners | 60% S/R | +£13.60 BFLSP – 1 other runner placed
A small but nonetheless impressive set of figures in Haydock’s Grade 2 races. McCain wants to mix it with the big boys and to do that you need to have the ammo to go to war with; at the moment he seems to be picking off these Grade 2’s with consummate ease. He almost landed a hat-trick of Grade 2 contests yesterday as his DESERT CRY hit 1.49 in-running before being worn down by the classy CELESTIAL HALO in the Champion Hurdle trial.
They have been dominating small field races at the track (7 runners or less)….
31 runners | 16 winners | 52% S/R | +£32.11 BFLSP – 5 other runners placed
This is probably more down to Jason Maguire, in that he is proving to be tactically astute in these small fields. A quick look at my Proform database tells me that in a vast majority of these small field contests he has his mount sitting close to the pace (he has ridden 20 of the 31 just behind the leaders). This gives Maguire plenty of time to judge how the race is developing, allowing him to make the ideal call as to how best to ride his mount based on what is going on around him. He rarely positions his mount out the back in these small fields at Haydock, making it less likely that he gets caught out by any quick injection of pace by one of the leaders.
They have an excellent record with their younger horses…..
McCain is certainly not afraid to let his younger brigade take their chances with 16 of the 26 Maguire ridden winners being aged 4 or 5; a case of if they are good enough they are old enough.
The bare figures for McCain’s 4 or 5yo’s at the track when ridden by Maguire make for impressive reading –
16/39 | 41% S/R | +£42.81 BFLSP – Win & Place 27/39 | 69% S/R
McCain obviously feels the track is a good place for his younger horses to shine and it’s hard to argue with that when looking at the above figures.
There is, however, one small note of caution for McCain/Maguire runners at Haydock…..
At the minute April appears to be a ‘weak’ month at the track for the pairing….
11 runners | 1 winner | 9% S/R | -£7.10 BFLSP – 4 others have placed
Far from abysmal stats and things could easily change, however, it could be that as the long and hard season draws to a close McCain maybe isn’t too concerned about targeting Haydock. The meeting generally falls in the gap between Cheltenham and Aintree and its safe to say his attentions are probably more focused elsewhere. His strike-rate at the track in other months is always above 30% so this lowly 9% strike-rate certainly stands out and as the McCain star continues to rise it’s possible Haydock in April slips further and further from his attention.
With the depth in talent at the yard increasing by the season I see no reason why the McCain/Maguire juggernaut won’t keep steam-rollering the rest of the trainers at Haydock for the foreseeable future. The figures are nothing but impressive and we would do well to keep them in mind the next time we open our punting wallets at the north-west venue.
*All figures sourced from the excellent Proform database