Owners Group looking forward to festival targets

Owners Group looking forward to festival targets

The success continues to be a success for the Owners Group syndicate, who had their most successful weekend to date last week with five winners.

Donald McCain’s Maximilian landed on the Grade Two River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster and the Paul Nicholls-trained duo of Stage Star and Hacker Des Places claimed handicaps at Cheltenham.

They were complemented by victories by Unit Sixtyfour at Fontwell and Richhill at Southwell on Sunday for the Microshare syndicate.

Dan Downie, Syndicate Race Director, said: “It’s been a very good weekend. We had a slow start to January like everyone else because of the weather and we thought it was going to be a busy weekend but to have five winners was exceptional.

“Donald told me that Maximilian got a bigger cheer when he won the Grand National!”

Despite winning a remarkable trial for Albert Bartlett, Maximilian will skip the Cheltenham Festival and await the Sefton Novices’ hurdle at Aintree.

“I loved the way he takes care of himself, he’s not particularly flashy and he’s almost lazy going through a race but he jumped last, came alive and by the looks of it he’s got a lot left camp,” Downie said.

“Donald said he almost gave up and I was starting to think that, but then Brian (Hughes) pushed him and he came back on the bridle. He is very good. He races like a real hurdler. He wouldn’t be the tallest in the world and while all options are open he looks like a permanent hurdler at this point.

“We had previously spoken about where we would like to end up this year and we are delighted to miss Cheltenham and aim for Aintree with him.”

Stage Star jumped perfectly at Cheltenham

Stage Star, a novice hurdler who won first class, looked in a class of his own when he defied the top weight in the usually informative Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

“Stage Star was very impressive. On a day like this when everything is going well, he looks very good,” said Downie.

“To be fair to him he had excuses when he was beaten but he looked like a very good horse on Saturday. It’s not like he’s just throwing in the towel.

“We had brief conversations with Paul, but nothing is concrete. He will go to Cheltenham but we haven’t really talked about that yet.

“Hacker Des Places is also very hard. He’s not very tall but he’s a strong traveler, he jumps well and loves those big fields and hopefully the Betfair Hurdle should fit him to the ground.

“It’s about just moving on and not losing sight of everyone involved, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about including them, it’s about including them.

“The horses are selling really well and I hope it gives people an opportunity to get involved as we know how expensive it is to have a racehorse. Hopefully it does the job for everyone.”

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