McMahon relies on Temple to stay on track

Though Ed McMahon could saddle his first Group One winner at Newmarket on Friday, he may face a still more momentous challenge when he gets home to Lichfield that evening. Win, lose or draw in the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes, McMahon will head straight to a public meeting against a proposed high-speed railway – scheduled to slash through the heart of his gallops. One way or another, it promises to become a day of fresh perspectives on 17 years of family graft and achievement.

The black humour is not lost on McMahon that the colt who could consummate five seasons as a trainer in his own right, and many more as assistant to his father, Bryan, should bear the name of a railway station. Temple Meads has shown express speed to win three of his four starts, notably the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury earlier this month. Remarkably, given his limited resources, McMahon promptly won another Group prize on the same card, with Astrophysical Jet. These horses are stabled in buildings that lay derelict before the McMahons arrived in 1994. Here was a harvest to raise the stakes for Friday's meeting, to be attended by two local MPs.

"I just hope we can get them to put their foot down, regardless of pressure from down south," McMahon said yesterday. "They were elected to represent their constituents' wishes. Admittedly we would be greatly affected, here, but there are thousands of other households along the line. The only people who would benefit are in the radius of the cities – there are only four stops on the line – and it could blight the whole of middle England. If I felt it was for the good of the country, I would hold my hand up. But I feel it's a waste of public money."

No such charge could ever be levelled at the McMahons, father or son, in their spending on behalf of patrons at the yearling sales. Bryan still works closely with John Fretwell, who owns a dozen of the 42 horses in the stable – including Temple Meads, bought for just 16,000 guineas.

Fretwell runs a candidly commercial operation, but is yet to be offered a profit he can't refuse for this colt. McMahon is perfectly reconciled to that possibility. "He has a price, and if it's acceptable, that's his business," he shrugs.

What he would love to see, however, is a league table of bloodstock agents, based on their ratio of investment and dividends. "If an owner gives me a budget to work to, I'll try to save them a few bob," he said. "Certainly I'd never rip anyone off. The game is expensive enough as it is. It's nice the owners are spending the right money, picking the right horses. We're slowly on the upgrade. It was nice to get the two Group wins, but every milestone you pass, you look for the next one."

McMahon applies the same forbearance to developing horses as in finding them. For instance, he has resisted the temptation to fast-track Astrophysical Jet to the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on Sunday. "If you get a horse to the top level, doing her best, then you don't want to send her over the top and bottom her," he said.

Temple Meads, equally, has been spooled out with care. "The thing you have to remember with these two-year-olds is that a lot of them have been on the go since last October, when the yearlings are broken," he said. "To keep them bouncing towards the end of the year is a training feat in itself. He seems very well. But then I try never to get them to the point where a horse's head is on the floor. He's only run four times."

After the colt's choke-out defeat over six furlongs, at York, many would have taken the softer option and reverted to five. "I didn't need to shout it from the highest steeple," he said. "The horse proved he got six at Newbury. And looking at the race you'd say he might even get seven. You can understand my frustration at York. I don't blame Jimmy [Fortune]. The horse just bounced out, saw a bit of daylight, got too free. But Richard Mullen knows the horse, buried him at Newbury, and you could see the difference. It'll take a good one to lower his colours on Friday."

Turf Account

*Chris McGrath's Nap

Regal Park (6.0 Newbury)

Blossomed on return from a break at Goodwood last time, trying this trip for the first time, and the narrow margin of his success – though taken literally by the handicapper – disguised his true superiority, as he idled in front.



Next best

Clockmaker (5.30 Newbury)

Having raced too freely in his early days, consecutive strong finishes over a mile suggest that he may now be ready for this extra distance.



One to watch

Dream On Buddy (B W Hills) was second again at Beverley last week, this time by just a nose, but the way she gradually wound up through the gears confirmed that she simply needs a step up in trip.



Where the money's going

Sarafina, third in her trial behind Midday in the Prix Vermeille, is 8-1 from 10-1 with Totesport for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit