Monday, October 10, 2011

Weird Al the latest string to McCain’s bow

As if further proof were needed, the news that talented three-mile chaser Weird Al has left the Ian Williams yard and has arrived at Donald McCain’s Cheshire base confirms once again just how quickly the son of the late, great ‘Ginger’ has risen close to the very top of the National Hunt training tree, writes Elliot Slater.

Although the transfer of yards is reportedly on an amicable basis, McCain is clearly on a steep upward curve and is developing a more powerful team year on year. Weird Al did very well indeed for Ian Williams, beginning last term with a fifth consecutive victory when dead-heating with subsequent Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Little Josh in a pulsating intermediate chase at Carlisle at the end of October.  Stepped up markedly in class, the eight-year-old was then asked to take on the big guns in Horse racing betting in the Grade 3 Hennessey Gold Cup Chase at Newbury a few weeks later and found the task beyond him, coming home eighth of the 18 runners behind the impressive Diamond Harry.

Williams decided to give Weird Al a mid-season break after his Newbury exertions and the gelded son of Accordion wasn’t seen again until going for the big one when he took on Long Run, Denman, and Kauto Star in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. After racing prominently for the first circuit the second-season chaser dropped away quickly after a mistake and was tailed off when pulled up fully a mile from home. It later transpired he had burst a blood vessel, so it is hard to read too much into the performance.

Certainly the pick of the big races are likely to be on Weird Al’s agenda later on this season, but McCain’s new recruit (best racing odds of 50/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup), will probably begin with a couple of runs at a lower level to boost his confidence before returning to the big league.

No comments:

Post a Comment