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Far Too Easy giving David McColm a dream run

Thu 16 December 2021

By Jordan Gerrans

Retired gelding Spirit Of Oregon built small-time trainer David McColm’s Murwillumbah stables and he is now dreaming of what Far Too Easy can deliver for his family and connections.

The former jockey has had an intriguing journey within the racing industry: getting too heavy as a rider in his younger days, taking on training in 1986, where he had varied success, before a bleed on his brain threatened training career and life.

Now, as 2022 approaches, the 60-year-old has one of the boom horses of the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival, with Far Too Easy to tackle the Listed Gold Edition Plate this Saturday before turning his attention to The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday.

Now based just south of the border at Murwillumbah, McColm’s prospects of a productive training career looked slim in the early days. 

Then having his stables at Beaudesert, a marriage break-up followed and not being flushed with cash after buying a complex there, which included a swimming pool and walker, McColm was soon on the move.

“It did not turn well, I separated from my wife, and I always loved down here in Murwillumbah and I was racing down here quite a bit, so I ended up down here and thought I would give it a go here,” he recalled.

“I bought five acres.”

When the land was purchased down the road from the Murwillumbah track, there was no stables or facilities, which 10-time winner, for over $200,000 in stakes, Spirit Of Oregon quickly changed.

The McColm team are now in the process of adding a handful or more boxes to the stables, including a new swimming pool.

“I have been fortunate, Spirit Of Oregon helped buy the property for me and I have built from there virtually, it has taken a long time,” he said.

Offers of $1 million have come in for Far Too Easy – a winner of four from five career starts – which would certainly finish building the new facilities a few times over but the team are racing on with the exciting youngster.

McColm owns Far Too Easy with wife Judith and the Wardlaws – Mary and Donald -  who also raced Spirit Of Oregon until his retirement in 1999.

There were times, following the brain bleed, that McColm thought he would never get back into training again – starting just one galloper between 2009 and 2020.

But a chat with Donald Wardlaw over a beer one day about four years ago convinced them to have another crack and this time, up the ante and reinvent their operation, spending a little more than they ever have when chasing horses to give themselves a chance in races like the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas.

McColm’s son Archie was a mad Alligator Blood fan so when they went to the sales 18 months ago, they had to inspect all the All Too Hard progeny on offer.

“Most of them I did not like, but I really liked this little fella,” McColm remembers about Far Too Easy.

“He really was little and that is why we got him on the cheaper side as he was a little small.

“He presented really professional, he handled the pressure of the sales really well – which I liked about him – and he had good legs and a great eye, as well as great conformation.

“His only fault was that he was tiny but it has not too been too much of an issue and he has grown, he is well put together now.”

Barely racing a horse for over a decade through the 2010s, McColm’s pest control business and wife Judith’s business kept the family going before returning for a proper dip at the racing industry once again.

Going for $45,000 at the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, McColm originally had a budget of $70,000 for the All Too Hard youngster but was pleased with what they eventually did pay for him.

Stable hoop Craig Franklin spent time with Far Too Easy in his earliest days and is now his main rider on the way to The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday in 2022.

“He is a pretty casual character when it comes to his work, he is cool, calm and collected,” Franklin said.

“The last two weeks I have started to work for David on a consistent basis and I have picked him up from there, we are getting on pretty well.

“It makes the job easier when you have one like him.”

With another smart one in their stable as well - Our Rebel who has won four from nine – McColm is aided by his wife and two sons at Murwillumbah at their expanding stable.

“We can go about doing things a lot more professional now, we can spend the money and have the facilities we want,” McColm said.

“We have good staff now, including Craig who brings great experience in the game. I consider what I have now a really good team around me.”

Riding has taken the 39-year-old Franklin around the world and he is enjoying working for the McColm barn, which is expected to expand from four in work to double digit runners in the near future.

“It is a wholesome environment; Dave, Jude and the kids, everyone is coming together to get things done,” Franklin said.

“It is a good place to work in a good environment, the atmosphere is great.

“You get the country atmosphere where it is not too hustle and bustle here, the track is virtually empty and it keeps the horses calm and happy.”

Far Too Easy goes to 1200 metres again this Saturday after claiming the Winning Rupert Plate last start and the team behind the gelding believe the 1400-metre trip or even up to a mile will suit him perfectly. 

As a small-time horseman with a handful of horses in work, McColm says that it is the absolute dream of training a horse to take on the big boys from the city and down south come The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday next year.

“This horse has been exciting since day one, he takes the next step every time we ask him to,” he said.

“He always steps up again.

“We are getting into races now that are obviously a lot harder but he is a nice horse and I think he will take another step again.

“I think he is up to the Magic Millions; it is a little bit daunting taking on those top southern horses as they are unknowns but he will certainly present himself well.

“That is what the dream is; when we bought the horse, I did not think we would be at a milestone like this but we are there and we are going to give it the best shake we can.”

The calls keep coming but the trainer and the Wardlaws have no interest in selling the impressive gelding, declaring they are enjoying their life racing horses and are not too fussed about the cash being splashed at them from overseas.