News

Odd moment for Dave McDonald

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Race-caller Dave McDonald experienced some odd moments during his commentary on a maiden-C1 trot at Ascot Park on Saturday, won by his namesake Davey Mac.

“It was weird, calling your own name,” he said, “but exciting.”

A son of Sundon and Little Contessa, Davey Mac ($1.40) was bred by Oamaru owner Bev Williamson. He is trained and was driven by her husband Phil, who said he rang McDonald when the five-year-old was just a yearling to ask if he could name the horse after him.

“He has been known to spend a bit of time in our caravan at Cromwell at Christmas time and has called more wins for us than anyone else,” Williamson recalled.

“What an honour,” said McDonald when asked what his initial reaction was, “and when he told me the breeding I thought this horse might be all right.”

Williamson, whose previous winner as a driver was on full brother Heard The Whisper at Wyndham in February, 2015, took the reins because he wanted to win for McDonald.

He said the big gelding's inexperience on raceday was his only worry and while in different circumstances he might have looked for a trail, he felt getting to the front gave him a better chance of winning.

He stepped well from the unruly and was soon in front, despite gawking around early, and held on easily by a length with Willliamson sitting quietly.

McDonald said he was confident they had it in the bag shortly after the start. He described the win as: “He glances up with a grin and says I’m in’’.

Earlier he called him a “big, bold dude’’ as the horse trotted to the front with 1500m left. He clocked 3:00.4 for the 2200m trip, his last 400m in 28.5sec.

Williamson earlier remarked to McDonald that being out of Little Contessa meant the horse was halfway there and being by Sundon made him a full brother to Group One winner Irish Whisper and Heard The Whisper.

Davey Mac became his pet project with Williamson describing him now as “well mannered” after having issues with his “top six inches”.

The first time McDonald set eyes on Davey Mac was at Cromwell, a few days before his planned debut there on January 7.

While McDonald and the Williamsons were at the Central Otago meeting five days earlier, Davey Mac stayed at Cromwell. On returning they saw the inside of a hind leg was a mess.

“No-one saw what happened,” McDonald said, “I held him when he was stitched.”

“It was an open cut, but vet Peter Gillespie came and sewed it up and said ‘Phil, I think this will be all right’.”

It was bandaged for about three months and healed perfectly.

“He'll have at least 10 days off now, I won't rush him, he's got a good horse's ability, plenty to work with,” Williamson said.