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Donald McCain: Top effort from the team as we hit the century

Cinders And Ashes is still on course for the Champion Hurdle despite his Kempton reverse.

"Racing is not all about big fields and competitive handicaps – you need places for these better horses to run and gain experience and I am sure the Sandown racegoers would have been delighted to see Captain Conan take on Unioniste...."

Donald reached the century of winners for the season on New Year's Day and still has a host of exciting horses who are yet to see the track.

It was great to get the century of winners up with Dungeel on New Year's Day - I was half hoping to get the 100 up before the turn of the year but it's easy to take these things for granted and, realistically, 100 winners in a season is a great achievement whenever you do it. 

I can't thank the team at Bankhouse enough really - there's an awful lot of hard work goes into to running the place and my staff deserve plenty of credit for their efforts. 

I've still got a lot of nice horses that are yet to come out and we will just keep rolling along in the coming weeks - fingers crossed they stay healthy and the winners continue to flow.

Traditionally things quieten down a bit at this time of year but I don't think that will be the case this season as the weather has played havoc with trainer's plans so far. 

There are lots of good horses who are going to need to get runs into them before the big spring festivals and there are only a finite number of opportunities for them. 

If I have got horses that I am desperate to get some better ground for, you can be sure that there are plenty of other yards that are in the same boat and there might be some competitive racing in the coming months.

Talking of opportunities for better horses, I was surprised that they have cancelled the Dipper Chase at Sandown tomorrow. I know that it was stated that it may be cancelled if there weren't four declarations but, for me, they have got their priorities wrong.

Racing is not all about big fields and competitive handicaps - you need places for these better horses to run and gain experience and I am sure the Sandown racegoers would have been delighted to see Captain Conan take on Unioniste.

I suppose the trainers involved could have declared another runner and taken it out to ensure that the race went ahead but, in acting honestly, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have been denied a chance to run two top-class novices.

The powers that be are quite happy to stick an extra seven races on at Wolverhampton but not let a Grade 2 novice chase featuring two 150-rated chasers go ahead. 

Looking back over the Christmas period, I can pass on an upbeat report on both Cinders And Ashes and Clondaw Kaempfer.

Cinders just couldn't pick up in the ground but I was happy enough with the effort and he continues to go well at home. 

Everyone seems to be getting carried away with Darlan's impressive win but it's worth remembering that we beat him fair and square at the Festival last year and, provided the rain eventually decides to stop, we will re-oppose at Cheltenham on more suitable ground.

I certainly haven't lost my faith in him and Cheltenham is still very much the plan - whether he runs again between now and then depends on ground and finding the right race - it wouldn't concern me unduly going there without another outing.

As for Clondaw Kaempfer, he overjumped and took a few false steps and Jason pulled him up straight away. He seems fine in himself and although he hasn't cantered since, there are no outward signs of anything being untoward. 

He was written off a bit in the paper as having been one of the first beaten but I thought he was still going well enough before the mistake and hopefully he will be able to crack on with him again soon - he's still going to be a smart horse when he gets some proper ground.

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04 January 2013

Donald McCain

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