McG`s campaign for this season, 2010/2011 is due to start on Friday 29th Oct at Wetherby at the Charlie Hall meeting.
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Star jumper fires up engine again. Yorkshire Post By Tom Richmond
Mister McGoldrick may never win any rosettes for his ‘looks’, but the imperious veteran is still one of the most popular National Hunt horses in training because of his fearless jumping, relentless galloping and refusal to defer to his 13 years of age. He is the epitome of a steeplechaser.
Ready to begin his 11th, and possibly final, year of competitive action, this remarkable horse with an unglamorous pedigree produced three of the best performances of his 87-race career when placed in a series of prestigious handicaps at Cheltenham – the home of National Hunt racing – earlier this year.
“He’s a super old horse, Sue’s baby,” says work rider John Butterfield as Mister McGoldrick trots, purposely, down the track that leads from the Smith’s stables to Baildon Moor.
“He has that touch of class – it’s as simple as that.”
Owned by Richard Longley who named the horse after the Leeds heart surgeon who successfully treated a cardiac condition more than a decade ago, Mister McGoldrick owes nothing to his connections – or fans.
He wouldn’t race if he had lost an iota of enthusiasm, but he’s not ready for his pipe and slippers. He had been due to re-appear at Cheltenham today – but Sue Smith believes the race will be too competitive. Wetherby’s Charlie Hall meeting, at the end of the month, is a more realistic target.
It’s also where her stable star has recorded eight of his 14 victories.
“He’s a horse with an engine. He’s like an old Rolls Royce,” enthuses Smith.
“He’s ready for a run – but Cheltenham may be too much.”
As she speaks, her husband Harvey – the former showjumper -–interrupts.
“This must be the worst handicapped horse in England,” he interjects with characteristic purpose and bluntness.
“He’s still being penalised for winning at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008 – and he’ll be 14 at Christmas. “It’s wrong.”
The race in question is the 2008 Racing Post Plate at the Cheltenham Festival when Mister McGoldrick galloped his rivals into submission at pricleless odds of 66-1.
It was the Smith’s first Festival victory, and even Harvey was proud as he led the horse into the hallowed winner’s enclosure reserved for champions. It was the most significant win in the career of Guiseley-born Dominic Elsworth, who makes his long-awaited comeback today after 15 months on the sidelines with concussion following a career-threatening fall.
And, despite Mister McGoldrick’s enduring courage, it remains the last success that this most honest of racehorses has enjoyed, despite several subsequent near-misses because of a ludicrously high handicap mark that still takes little account of his age.
His preparation for the campaign ahead has again included three months roaming wild on Baildon Moor. Eating lush grass and drinking natural water under the stars, the Smith’s send their horses back to nature each summer,
It’s a winning routine that has seen the 60-strong stable record 11 victories this season. Two winners in the past week were ridden by 23-year-old Shane Byrne, a highly-promising conditional jockey from County Kildare. His five-pound weight allowance eases the horse’s handicap burden slightly.
He’s ridden Mister McGoldrick six times, including twice around Cheltenham. On New Year’s Day, they jumped the last fence upsides Grand National-winning jockey Tony McCoy aboard Can’t Buy Time before fading on the final run-in.
Byrne hopes there will be other memorable days. “He’s a push button horse. He will do more for me than I will do for him,” he says.
“He’s a great ride for a conditional. A brilliant jumper, it’s great experience. And he knows that fence at the top of the Cheltenham hill. he pricks his ears and takes off – all I can say is that it’s a thrill to ride him, even when he stands off so far from the fence!
“He’s 13. He thinks he’s still a youngster.”
As Mister McGoldrick returns to his stable to be hosed down, his work rider is content.
Patting Mister McGoldrick’s mane, Butterfield says: “Wonderful. He’s done that easy enough. He’s ready to run.”
Mister McGoldrick’s owner Richard Longley now runs the McGoldrick Partnership which offers racegoers the chance to own a share in a horse. Log on to themcgoldrickpartnership.com for further details.