By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Two-time leading trainer at Hastings Racecourse Craig MacPherson subscribes to a rather simple theory. “You put a plan in place and hope everything works out,” he says. “And when you’re surrounded by great people, great things happen.”
MacPherson stood tall at the podium as Leading Trainer at both the 2013 and 2014 B.C. Thoroughbred Awards banquets.
“It’s a satisfying part of the business but I don’t key on it,” he says. “You just do the best you can do on a day-to-day basis and let the chips fall where they may.”
Six weeks into this 2018 racing season those ‘chips’ have been falling in MacPherson’s favour. He and his dedicated team have already made six trips to the winner’s circle, including a memorable Kentucky Derby Day victory when Weekend Wizard won the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province.
Weekend Wizard, owned by Riversedge Racing Stables, will be shooting for two successive stakes wins in Sunday’s $50,000 River Rock Casino for 3-year-olds. Riversedge Racing Stables, owned by Alberta businessmen Norm Castiglione and Robert Vargo, have designated 15-20 horses from their ranch near Okotoks in southern Alberta to be in MacPherson’s care at Hastings this year. Another is 3-year-old filly Gigi Jean, running in today’s $50,000 Emerald Downs.
“With eight from Canyon Farms and singles from Bob Leffler, Rollie Embree, Ed Claggett and a few others (including his own Bluegrass Angus), we have more horses in our barns than we’ve had in years,” MacPherson says. “It couldn’t happen without a tremendous amount of help from our grooms, gallop riders along with assistant trainer and one of the most reliable farriers I’ve ever met … Mal Beveridge. He’s my go-to guy.”
“The relationship and working combo of Craig and Mal is as close as it gets,” says one backstretch veteran. “We should all be so lucky.”
MacPherson comes by his work ethic and racing background honestly. His late grandfather Angus MacDonald was a prominent trainer for more than 30 years and was inducted into the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. Craig’s father, Alastair, bred horses and was president of the B.C. Division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society.