McPherson backing line-up to be most successful yet
On The Rails with racing editor Jonathan Herbert:
GRAEME McPherson believes his team of horses for the 2012/13 jumps season can bring unprecedented success to his Stow-on-the-Wold stable.
He is targeting 20 winners this term – nearly double his current best – amid a strong feeling of confidence in the talent on offer at his Martins Hill headquarters.
"I think it's going to be a fantastic season," said McPherson.
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"We've got 37 boxes and every one of them is full and what's more they're full of really nice horses.
"We've got some nice youngsters who are growing up and we've been sent some nice older horses from other yards as well.
"All being well it should be our best season yet by quite some way.
"This year our target is 20, 25 winners, which seems ambitious but I hope it's realistic."
McPherson has bettered his previous tally every campaign since taking out a professional training licence in 2009, racking up 11 jumps winners last term.
He is confident Tickatack can prove a force over fences after the eye-catching grey gelding enjoyed a successful spell over hurdles last term.
After winning at Southwell, Tickatack went on to be placed in each of his next three races.
McPherson said: "I think Tickatack will be very smart.
"I think we'll give him another spin over hurdles because I really think he can win off his current mark if we get it right but then he'll go novice chasing.
"He jumps for fun and he stays three miles.
"He really could be a decent novice chaser."
Tickatack will be joined over fences by Harry Hunt, who has shown his versatility by winning on the Flat and over hurdles.
He was out of his depth against Sprinter Sacre and Peddlers Cross at Kempton in his only chase so far, but he should find much easier openings this term.
Winning hurdler Zanir has recovered from a fall on the flat in the Imperial Cup and could make his presence felt over fences this term.
McPherson said: "He always tries hard but he's just in the grip of the handicapper.
"He came down heavily in the Imperial Cup and he's taken time to get over that, but his head seems to be in the right place now."
Earth Planet and Kilcrea Asla will be chasing honours in veterans' chases, while the less experienced Samtheman and Werenearlyoutofit – runner-up in an Irish maiden point-to-point which has produced a stackful of winners – could prove money-spinners.
McPherson said: "I think we've fallen on a really nice youngster in Werenearlyoutofit.
"We'll see him run some good races this year but I think he's one for a year or two's time.
"Samtheman cost £7,000 out of a Worcester seller and he shouldn't be as good as he is – he's a nice horse.
"We know he jumps from his point-to-point days and I think he's one that we'll have some fun with as well."
Other lightly-raced horses to note include Wychwoods Brook, who is rated an exciting prospect to go hurdling after he finished second in a Uttoxeter bumper last term.
McPherson said the six-year-old had taken time to fill his frame but now looked ready to fulfil his potential.
"You have only to look at him to realise he could be something special," he said at his owners' day.
MOLLOY HANDED TOP RIDING JOB AT MARTINS HILL
TOM Molloy has been appointed as stable jockey at Graeme McPherson’s Martins Hill yard.
Formerly based with Nigel Twiston-Davies, the 25-year-old is rated highly by McPherson.
“Tom came to us from Nigel’s about 18 months ago, he started riding out for us and starting riding for us in a few races,” said McPherson.
“He’s completely committed to the yard, he’s brought owners in and as far as I’m concerned he’s never given a horse a bad ride.
“He’s exactly the sort of young ambitious jockey that this yard needs.
“He’s going to be a wonderful addition, I think.
“He’s a strong jockey, he’s fit and he never gives up.
“He models himself on McCoy and never stops riding.
“He’ll push them for three miles, if that’s what it takes.”
Before joining Twiston-Davies, Molloy spent three-and-a half years with Jim Bolger in Ireland before moving to England to join Philip Hobbs.