Milestone then fall for McNab

Cambridge jockey Michael McNab (pictured) experienced the highs and lows of racing at Ellerslie yesterday.Michael McNab (377x492)

The day started well for McNab when he guided the Gary Alton-trained Light Shadow to victory in the Mainstream Plumbing & Gasfitting 1400 to record a century of wins, but instead of going straight home after the meeting to toast his milestone he wound up in Auckland Hospital.

McNab’s day of celebration took a turn for the worse when riding The Fire Inside in the Gr. 3 Scot Thrust City Of Auckland Cup. The Fire Inside dislodged McNab with 400 metres to run when appearing to clip the heels of Loves The Show.

McNab was attended to by the St John’s personnel then transferred to Auckland Hospital for further assessment, but fortunately he escaped serious injury.

“I’m pretty sore in spots, but good considering,” said McNab this morning.

McNab has good reason to quickly bounce back with the thought of riding Light Shadow again in his next start, possibly at the Karaka Millions evening at Ellerslie later this month.

Light Shadow provided the 29-year-old with his first win on the comeback trail when clearing maiden ranks decisively at Ellerslie on December 6 and was impressive when managing the step up against winners in the special conditions event yesterday.

Aboard Light Shadow, McNab rode a similar race to James McDonald did when he won the first event on Cambridge-owned Midnitemagicman. He settled Light Shadow handy and worked him around the leaders to issue his challenge in the run home.

Light Shadow kicked strongly and though the highly rated Arrow In The Sand finished well, he was never in danger of defeat and scored by a length and a half. Fellow Cambridge galloper Seize The Moment fought on for third.

Light Shadow, a five-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor, is raced by Alton and his partner, Catherine Cameron, along with Shirley Fung, from Hong Kong, and he began his career in the Alton stable before heading to overseas.

“He showed a lot of ability right from the start but was a real handful,” said Alton. “He won his first trial at Cambridge then went through the outside fence when Michelle Wenn was pulling him up.”

Troy Harris climbed aboard when Light Shadow had his next trial and got around safely and the horse then headed to Hong Kong but never got to race there.

“The first trainer over there only had him three weeks then he went to another trainer and he gave him three trials,” said Alton. “I thought the trials were all right, but obviously the horse was too much of a handful and he was sent back here to New Zealand.

“That’s when Shirley offered us a half-share in him. We knew the ability he had so we took it. He was worth giving a chance.

“Catherine always said he was the nearest thing to Geographer she had ridden. And he was a good horse.”

Geographer was an exciting galloper in the Alton stable who won three of his five starts, including his last two appearances in April-May of 2011. He was then in quarantine to be sent to Hong Kong when he died.