Tough return for Jimmy James Maguire

By Michael Guerin

Driver Ricky May admits Sunday's $20,000 Garrards House And Hound Horotata Cup may not be the ideal comeback race for Jimmy James Maguire.

But compared with what happened the last time he tried to go to the races the 3000m standing start at Methven will seem like a picnic.

Jimmy James Maguire is having his first start since finishing eighth of nine in the Green Mile at Methven in early December, having been sixth to Don’t Stop Dreaming and Merlin in the Junior Free-For-All on Cup day the start before.

But trainer Brendon Hill has actually tried to race Jimmy James Maguire since that Methven start on December 3 but it couldn’t have gone worse.

“He got attacked by another horse in the float on the way to the races when he was heading to Invercargill for their Cup Day,” says May, who also shares in the ownership.

“The other horse had a real go at him and took some skin off his neck and it was only the great work of the float driver to break them up that saved it being a lot worse.

“But this poor fella needed a break after that.”

Hill took Jimmy James Maguire to the workouts last weekend and was pleased with his performance but May has been around long enough to know winning fresh-up after an incident like that over 3000m from a 20m handicap in a big field will take some real doing.

“Benny (Hill) is taking the attitude he has to start off somewhere so it might as well be here but clearly he will improve with the run.”

With those doubts in mind the latest leg of the Country Cups circuit looks very even with the distance even bringing veteran grass track hero Homebush Lad into play after a remarkable 13th grass track win last start.

While May isn’t going to his hometrack confident he can win the Cup he rates two stablemates trained by Stephen Boyd as good chances.

“Both Kawatiri Creek (R4, No.7) and What A Minx (R9, No.7) went really well last week and I think they will both be good each way chances.”

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