top of page
Search
  • Provincial Racing NSW

DAVID McCOLM – HUNTING A BIG WIN WITH FIRST NEWCASTLE RUNNER


IT’S been more than four decades since David McColm visited Newcastle as a youngster.

The circumstances will be vastly different when the affable Murwillumbah trainer returns on Saturday with his first ever runner at Broadmeadow – and with a real chance of landing a $1m feature race.

McColm, understandably, is looking forward to saddling his smart sprinter Far Too Easy in Newcastle’s richest race, The Hunter (1300m).

“I haven’t been to Newcastle since 1977 when I was at Werris Creek (north of Quirindi and south-west of Tamworth) waiting to be apprenticed to Reg Powell, who trained on his parents’ 4000-acre property,” McColm recalled.

“We brought a few horses to race at Newcastle, and that was 46 years ago.

“I haven’t been back since. I did consider stabling Far Too Easy at Newcastle prior to him running in The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick a year ago, but eventually stayed at Rosehill as it was closer.”

Toowoomba-born McColm spent two and a half years with Powell, riding at country meetings (his first winning ride was at Grafton), and then moved back to Queensland and spent a couple of years with Ipswich trainer Kevin Keidge.

Whilst his time in the saddle was never going to reach longevity because he was too tall (it was always a struggle, he said), he has made a great fist of his training career, and has done a wonderful job with the now five-year-old Far Too Easy, who has won seven and been placed five times from only 18 starts and earned just shy of $1.2m.

A $45,000 Gold Coast yearling product, Far Too Easy was purchased by McColm after he looked at a number of youngsters by the stallion All Too Hard on the suggestion of his son Archie, one of Alligator Blood’s biggest fans.

“I looked at five of his yearlings at that sale, and didn’t like any of them,” he said.

“Then I looked at this colt from an unraced Hussonet mare (Mnemonic).

“He was a bit small but a nice horse and I liked him purely on type, and got him cheaper than our budget of $60,000.

“Naming him didn’t take long. Far Too Easy is the reverse of All Too Hard, and it sounded good.”

McColm and his wife Judy race the gelding in partnership with close friends Don and Mary Wardlaw.

The Wardlaws raced the McColm-trained Prince of Oregon, who won 10 races and more than $200,000 in prizemoney back in the 1990s.

“I met Don and Mary when I was breaking in horses in Brisbane for trainer Ken Lee. We really hit it off, and they gave me a few horses to train.

“We have been great friends for more than 35 years.”

It was also Don Wardlaw who a few years ago convinced McColm to resurrect his training career after a lengthy hiatus, brought about by a sudden and serious illness.

“I had a mini stroke having breakfast one morning in 2010,” McColm said.

“It was a bleed on the brain from a cavernoma, which I was born with but never knew anything about it until this happened.

“Whilst thankfully the cavernoma was benign, it took me a long time to fully recover. I was out of action for a couple of years.”

McColm recalls Wardlaw suggesting he start training again during a chat over a cold ale.

“I had never relinquished my licence, and Don was keen for us to get serious and have another crack, concentrating on spending good money buying yearlings.

“The first horse we bought was Our Rebel (a $65,000 yearling in 2019) who has won five races (two in Brisbane, including a $71 Maiden victory at Eagle Farm in 2021), and he has returned nearly double the outlay.

“Far Too Easy was our next buy.”

McColm has a good set-up at Murwillumbah close to the track, but things got scary last year when disastrous floods hit the region. The racecourse went under water, and it was touch and go with his horses for a while.

Though living only 50m from the stables, the only way he could reach them was by boat. “Including Far Too Easy, they were all well and truly knee deep in water, but fortunately we were able to get them out,” he said.

Far Too Easy is certainly deserving of a big race breakthrough – and The Hunter would suit just fine! He has been placed at his last three starts; runner-up in the Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm in June, second again with an outstanding but luckless run in Grafton’s Ramornie Handicap (1200m) in July, and then third from an awkward draw in The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick last month.

“We got too far back in The Kosciuszko,” McColm said. “We wouldn’t have beaten the winner Front Page, but he should have finished second.”

Far Too Easy has the limit weight (54kg) in The Hunter, and McColm has booked Jason Collett, considering his style of riding will perfectly suit his horse.

Collett has ridden in all four runnings of the Newcastle feature, his best result being a third on local Bon Amis ($19) in the inaugural 2019 event.

But he never goes home empty-handed, having been successful at every The Hunter meeting.

Collett scored on Burning Crown in 2019, Laure Me In (2020), Street Power (2021), and landed a treble last year (Knife’s Edge at $26, Ten Bells at $14, and Redwood Shadow at $9.50).

McColm is perfectly happy with Far Too Easy’s progress since the October 14 The Kosciuszko (he races best on the fresh side), and will float him to Newcastle on Wednesday night.

.HOOFNOTE: Whilst Far Too Easy was actually foaled five years ago today (November 13), there will be an early birthday celebration if the gelding wins The Hunter as avid racing enthusiast Archie McColm turns 15 on November 28.

*Story John Curtis, November 13, 2023 - Pics supplied*

201 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page