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MacDonnell Taking Long Term Perspective

Published: September 2, 2011 11:07 pm ET

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Ontario’s two-year-old trotting colt crop descends on Georgian Downs on Tuesday night, and trainer Ted MacDonnell is hoping Magish can earn another top five finish in the second $24,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division.

“On the track he’s been all manners and all business, but he can be a handful in the barn,” says MacDonnell of the recalcitrant youngster, who was gelded almost as soon as he stepped off the truck from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last November. “He’s not a real pleasure to work around, but I’m hoping by next year, when the hormones are all out of his system, he’ll be better.”

Magish made his Grassroots debut at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 3 and finished a solid third over a track rated one second slower than normal. The son of Kadabra and Swedish Rail returned to the provincial program at Kawartha Downs on Aug. 11 and landed a fourth-place cheque, in spite of getting locked in on the rail. The $31,000 yearling purchase made his most recent start at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 22, where he finished eighth after a tough trip up the outside.

“He’s had a couple of bad trips lately, but not really his fault,” notes MacDonnell, who conditions the gelding for his partners Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, Ont., M&S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, Ont., and Doubledox Stable of Campbellville, Ont. “He got locked in the two-hole up in Peterborough, and he got parked the whole mile and was kind of lost his last start.”

Magish will make his bid for a share of the Grassroots purse from Post 5 in Tuesday’s third race, a spot MacDonnell believes will allow the gelding’s driver to make best use of his burgeoning skills.

“That’s a great post,” says the Allenford, Ont. resident, who also bred Magish in partnership with Jeff Ruch of Innisfil, Ont. “He has great gate speed if they utilize it properly.”

Since the start of the gelding’s racing career MacDonnell has taken a long-term view of Magish’s prospects. The gelding has been slow to develop, both physically and mentally, so the trainer expects to send him behind the gate just a few more times this season. However, he does hope that six or seven starts are enough to take the edge off the gelding’s energy level before he starts his winter vacation.

“He’s on the walker a lot and he’s on the track a lot. His turn out time is very limited because when he was at Jack [McNiven]'s, he was trying to jump the fence,” explains MacDonnell, adding that even turning the gelding out with another horse has not mitigated his tendency toward escape. “So he’s still sitting in the corner, he doesn’t get many privileges,” says the trainer with a chuckle.

MacDonnell prepped Magish for Tuesday’s start with a sharp training mile on Monday, Aug. 29 and will send the gelding out for an easy trip around the track tomorrow (Saturday). The gelding faces a field of both veterans and newcomers to Grassroots action in the third race, including 10th ranked Northern Victory from Post 2.

The two-year-old trotting colts will be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 11 on Tuesday night’s program, with one race earmarked as the Win The Thrill contest race. Fans are invited to place their ballot in the box belonging to the horse they believe will win the contest race. One finalist will be selected from each ballot box, earning a shot at one of five prizes at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, and a chance at the Grand Prize — a share in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association’s (SBOA) New Owner Mentoring Program.

The Grand Prize draw will be held at Mohawk Racetrack on the Oct. 1 Grassroots Championship Night, and the lucky winner will join the other eight members of the SBOA New Owner Group as they are guided through the purchase and ownership of an Ontario-sired yearling by mentor Brian Webster and trainer Tony O’Sullivan.

More information about the Win The Thrill contest and the SBOA New Owners Mentoring program is available at and Ballots and details are available in the official Georgian Downs program.

All the Win The Thrill and Grassroots excitement gets under way at 7:25 pm at Georgian Downs on Tuesday

To view Tuesday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Tuesday Entries - Georgian Downs.


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