04/22/2011 2:28PM

Hastings: MacPherson has high hopes for 3-year-olds

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Craig MacPherson is glad to be back at Hastings after spending the winter at Turf Paradise, where he won four races from 32 starts. It isn’t the weather that has him excited to be back. A couple of 3-year-olds that could make a big impact at Hastings has MacPherson looking forward to the 2011 meet.

Belle Evangeline, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly by Eddington, impressed the local clockers with her 6 1/2-furlong move out of the gate in 1:20.20 on Wednesday. Inhisglory, a gelded son of Pure Prize, has won three of his five starts, including a stakes race at Turfway.

Belle Evangeline is being pointed to the $50,000 Boulevard Casino on May 1, and Inhisglory will likely make his first start at Hastings in the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province on May 7. Both races are at 6 1/2 furlongs.

“They both seem to be pretty nice horses, and it will be interesting to see how they fit here,” MacPherson said.

Belle Evangeline has only started three times, and all three races have been on the grass going one mile. She romped by six lengths when she made her debut in a $30,000 maiden-claiming race Jan. 17, and after a decent effort where she set the pace before tiring to finish fourth in a first-level allowance race, she came from slightly off the pace to finish second in a $30,000 starter race Feb. 28.

“Winning a $30,000 maiden race on the turf at the Fair Grounds doesn’t make her a world-beater,” MacPherson said. “But she is a big strong filly and she seems to handle this track very well. We’ll know a little more about her after she runs next Sunday, but she has never actually been in a sprint, and I am looking forward to when she stretches out here. She came home pretty quickly in her work out of the gate and she was just breezing.”

Inhisglory has three wins in the bank, including a nose decision over Banjammer in the Turfway Prevue on Jan 8. All three of his wins came over synthetic tracks, and in his only try on dirt, he finished fourth in the Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds.

According to MacPherson, Belle Evangline and Inhisglory have completely different personalities.

“She’s very aggressive and a bit headstrong when she gallops, so we have to do everything we can to calm her down,” MacPherson said. “Inhisglory is a whole different ballgame. You really have to make him do what you want in the mornings.”

Both horses are owned by Peter Redekop a local real-estate developer who owns two of the quickest horses in North America – Comedero and Hollywood Hit. Redekop also won the 1994 British Columbia Derby with Squire Jones. Having a serious player with deep pockets like Redekop is different experience for MacPherson. They hooked up last year, and the relationship was cemented when they won Ascot Graduation with Too Much Dirt.

“I’ve never had an owner like Mr. Redekop before,” MacPherson said. “He likes to play the game, and if he wants a horse, he can get it. With the purse structure here, he obviously isn’t going to pay a half a million bucks for a horse. He wants to have some fun with a few nice horses here, and I know I need to produce. There is a bit more pressure, but it is something every trainer strives for.”

MacPherson is coming off of a career-best meet at Hastings, with 45 wins in 2010. He was second in the standings to Troy Taylor who had 48 wins.

St Liams Halo returns in feature

Sunday’s feature is a good race, with sprint stakes winners Woombroom Express and Seminole Brave in the field. Adding considerable interest to the race is St Liams Halo.

Trained by Troy Taylor, St Liams Halo was purchased last year by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella with the B.C. Derby in mind. Due to an injury, he never made it to the race and will be making his first start since he won a one-mile maiden special weight race on the grass at Arlington Park last June 25. He hasn’t finished worse than second in five starts on grass. He finished fourth in both of his races on dirt. Taylor isn’t sure what to expect from him Sunday.

“I think he’s a nice horse, and he only lost by a nose going five and one-half furlongs, so he can sprint,” he said. “I think he’ll be better going longer, though. I know his best races have been on grass, but he seems to like it here and I certainly like the way he is training. We’ll just have to wait and see.”