MacGregor family horse on a winning roll

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  • May 30, 2023
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Alby MacGregor’s southern forays with Times Ticking have enabled the Central Districts horseman to mix business with pleasure to grand effect.

The Tauherenikau-based trainer and part-owner has found Riccarton a happy hunting ground with his multiple stakes winner and at the same time he has enjoyed quality family time.

“I’ve got my son Dean down there, he works in the corporate world and he’s got a small farm at Rangiora,” MacGregor said.

“I like to go down there and see him and the grandkids and take the horse down for the ride.

“I took another young one down there, he’s by Rock ‘N’ Pop who hasn’t been broken in yet, as Times Ticking travels better if he’s got a mate with him.”

It’s a formula that has worked well on all fronts with Times Ticking winning three times at Riccarton and he will bid to continue his strong run of form closer to home in Saturday’s Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m) at Wanganui.

The son of Tavistock will be ideally suited by the weight-for-age conditions of the feature.

“It looks another very good race for him and he’s going really well,” MacGregor said.

Times Ticking won the Listed Easter Cup (1600m) last month before he backed up seven days later to claim top honours in the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m).

The gelding’s southern ventures have resulted in his Riccarton successes celebrated by three generations of the family as son Dean and grandson Matthew are now also involved in the ownership.

“Matthew is the strapper and he’s an apprentice farrier down there,” MacGregor said.

Since his return home, Times Ticking has been kept up to the mark with a 1200m trial win on the synthetic track at Awapuni where he was ridden by Jonathan Riddell, who will take the mount on Saturday.

“He went quite nicely at the trials so he’s ready to go again at Wanganui,” MacGregor said.

He has been no stranger to past successes in the South Island with his former star Fritzy Boy completing a hat-trick of Listed wins in 2008 in the Gore Guineas (1335m), Dunedin Guineas (1400m) and the Southland Guineas (1600m).

He subsequently trained on as a four-year-old to triumph in the Gr.1 Mudgway Partsworld Stakes (1400m) at Hastings.

Current stable flagbearer Times Ticking has been relatively lightly raced for a rising eight-year-old as the winner of 10 of his 29 starts.

“I’ve tipped him out a number of times over the years to give him more time and it’s paid off in the long run,” MacGregor said.

“He’s had a few issues along the way and he did hurt himself as a two-year-old, he went shine sore a few times as well, hence he never raced until he was three.

“He then only had one or two runs before I put him aside again to let him mature and strengthen.”

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