In the upshot, their efforts proved fruitless, the Clones man proving as sharp in the arena with Cayetana as he was laid back outside.
McMahon is in the Cork town for a six days of competitive action that he hopes will, after yesterday, see him net his first Boomerang title in Sunday morning’s final.
He is quietly confident that he will follow this in the afternoon by wrapping up the Atec Premier Series. His optimism is well placed, given that he is on 41 points, 13 more than second-placed Paul O’Shea.
Accordingly, the latter must produce nothing less than a win, coupled with a dramatic departure by McMahon from a season marked by consistency.
“I never set out to win the series. The money is very good at each show and I just took each one individually. I am lucky, in that I’ve been quite consistent,” he said.
As for the slim chance that he could be overhauled in Sunday’s feature, which has a prizefund of €21,000?
“It could happen. Horses are not machines. But if I keep going the same way as I have done all season, I would like to think I have a good chance.”
Crucially, McMahon is not teaming up with his number one ride Hermes de Reve, who “picked up a bit of a knock in the first jump-off class in Dublin Horse Show”. Instead, he is saddling the eight-year-old Cobald.
“He may not have the experience, but he’s good,” said the 30-year-old, confident the gelding would be up to the challenge.
McMahon was one of 26 to make the jump-off in yesterday’s qualifier for Sunday’s Boomerang Final, a competition renowned for identifying the country’s foremost six and seven-year-old horses.
Kilkenny rider Richie Moloney had set a stiff challenge when second in, stopping the clock on 40.28 seconds on John McDonald’s Chatsworth Olympic Lad.
Six riders followed and failed to make an impression, before McMahon did just enough, shaving two-hundredths of a second off the time, Cayetana demonstrating the class that saw it win the seven-year-old final in Dublin last weekend.
Tholm Keane ultimately proved the main threat, finishing two seconds adrift on Ronan Tynan’s grey Cruising mare Warrenstown Well Aware.
McMahon is well aware of the value of a Boomerang and would love to find himself again top of the list on Sunday.
“I have never won a Boomerang title. It’s a lovely class and I would dearly love to add it to my CV,” he said.