her stable star may be 14-years-old – but Sue Smith still believes that the ageless Mister McGoldrick can roll the back the years at Wetherby today and win at his favourite track.
The winner of a record eight races at his ‘local’ course, Richard Longley’s former Cheltenham Festival hero lines up in the bet365 Handicap Chase, a race that he previously won in 2004 and 2007.
That he’s remained his zest, 11 years after finishing seventh out of eight runners on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth, is testament, in many respects, to the routine at Smith’s Bingley stables.
She believes a summer roaming free on Baildon Moor has reinvigorated the chaser who was named by owner Richard Longley after Leeds heart surgeon Joe McGoldrick.
“He’s in great form,” she told the Yorkshire Post. “He loves Wetherby and the ground should be ideal with the rain.
“He’s in very good form with himself and the same enthusiasm is there. What do you do? All we can do is take it one race at a time. Places like Cheltenham, they’re off the agenda, but he’s had a long break since the beginning of the year.
“The ground was too firm, but he loved it on the Moor, going back to nature.”
The horse’s only concession to age is the fact that five pound claimer Shane Byrne will be in the saddle rather than Guiseley-born Dominic Elsworth who has enjoyed so much success on Mister McGoldrick, including the 2008 Racing Post Plate at the Cheltenham Festival.
“It takes a bit of weight off. We want to give him every chance of running his best possible race,” said Smith, who said her stable staff compete for the right to ride the horse on the gallops.
As for Byrne, he says it is a “privileged” to have the chance to ride one of the most popular horses in racing.
“I’ve ridden him at home and he seems as good as ever,” he said. “He just loves Wetherby – let’s hope he can win one more race at the track. Either way, they should name a race there after him.”