10/31/2008 12:00AM

MacPherson fully armed


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Craig MacPherson ranks 2008 as the best year he has ever had as a trainer, and there is a very good chance MacPherson will end the year on a high note.

MacPherson has entered six horses in five races for the final day of the Hastings meet. In four of the races he will saddle either the likely first or second choice.

In the final race on the card, Arkhill, who is trained by MacPherson, figures to be a solid favorite in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race for 3-year-olds and up that drew six horses.

MacPherson had a hard time separating the win by Arkhill in the Alberta Derby or Against the Sky's win in the Grade 3 Ballerina as the highlight of his year.

"It's always nice to win a derby," he said. "But watching Against the Sky develop into a top stakes mare was pretty special too."

Arkhill has started only twice since he won the Alberta Derby on June 14. He came back to win the Ky Alta on July 12, but then became sick and didn't run again until he finished fourth in the Grade 3 B.C. Derby on Sept. 21.

"Considering the time off and all that he had to overcome, that was a very good race for him in the derby," said MacPherson.