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Angus McNae

Captain's Blog - Thursday 28th June 2012

It is no secret that I have backed Richard Hughes to win the jockeys’ title. If he is going to win he will need a combination of factors to work in his favour.
Firstly he is a fast ground jockey, a rider who likes horses to travel in their races, so soft ground plod fests do not suit his style. Thus he needs the weather to improve.

Secondly he needs the Hannon horses to really get on a roll; they have been a bit hit and miss so far, but they too could probably do with better ground.

Thirdly he needs to ride in as many races as he can because while winning the jockeys’ title is about talent, it is also about getting more rides than your rivals thereby increasing your chances of beating them. To win you also need desire, because it is a long season and you need to commit to a lot of travel and to riding a lot of horses.

Finally he also needs what all sportsmen need - a bit of luck. Yesterday Hughes rode three winners which was great for those who have backed him for the title, but he also rode five seconds. He needs some of those second placed horses to win and if so he is bang in the mix.

He beat Ryan Moore in a tight finish yesterday and whilst I do not believe in crystal ball style analysis of anything I wonder if that could be a turning point in this season’s championship.

Ryan of course will be hard to catch (he is currently 17 clear of Hughes) but there is a long way to go. Some people are trumpeting the talents of William Buick and in the same breath are putting him forward as a possible champion this year.

I do not believe he is a threat to the big two, because quite simply he will not get as many rides as them and to be honest he is not as good as them. He has received a lot of credit for taking the scenic route on some of his winners at Ascot, but he has never been a man to hug the inside rail and if you watch his rides he usually likes to stay out of trouble out wide. He will continue to ride a lot of winners whilst John Gosden remains in form, but it is doubtful if he has enough ammo to be champion. One thing is for sure having a bet in the jockeys’ championship really gives you an interest through the season and enables you to concentrate on riding styles and tactical acumen in a more studious way than you have ever done before.

Unfortunately our selection yesterday was one of Richard Hughes's second placed efforts! Today I am keen on Memory Cloth in the 3.00 at Newcastle. I will be honest, a better judge than me has put me onto this horse today and the reasoning is that this horse has had no chance on his last two starts due to a slow pace on one occasion and then he failed to stay 10f at Chester. A soft ground mile is right up his street and he should get a decent pace to run at as well. He should be backed with some confidence.

Right that is it for today. Hughes is riding at Warwick today and Moore is having a day off. Hope springs eternal folks!


Today's Selection

3.00 Newcastle - Memory Cloth



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