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Angus McNae

Captain's Blog - Monday 8th October

Premature Effort Floors Orfevre!

There is little doubt that Solemia was a worthy winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday. Her stamina laden pedigree particularly on her dam's side enabled her to stay on too strongly for Orfevre. That she was a worthy winner does not mean that she was the best horse in the race, that mantle must belong to Orfevre for a number of reasons.

Firstly he overcame a terrible draw to run so well and the draw ensured that the trip he got in the race was far from ideal.

© Racehorse Photos

Secondly and most importantly I believe Soumillon made his effort on Orfevre prematurely. He asked Orfevre for an effort 2.5 furlongs out and the horse flew into the lead showing a remarkable change of gear in the conditions. He then started to tire and was caught close home. In essence Soumillon went too soon, and that cost him the race.

It is my belief that when a horse is able to quicken to the front and establish a lead if he is then caught by one of those whom he passed making his effort that effort was made too soon and this was the case with Orfevre and Solemia. It reminds me of a race I ran in as a teenager. Believe it or not I was a sub 50 second 400 metre runner when I was 18. My biggest win came in a race where I quickened off the home turn and then held on all the way to the line, the next time I raced against the same lad who had finished second to me the time before I quickened down the back straight and this time I was caught close home by the chap I had beaten the time before. I went too soon and paid for that late on. A weird comparison, but a valid one I believe.

Many like horses to be given what they call every chance and this means kicking on two out, but given the vagaries of pace this tactic is not always a method of giving a horse every chance. Watch Richard Hughes riding Inpursuitoffreedom at Kempton last week And you will see that he won that race by waiting until the last 200 yards, because to do so was to maximize his horses chances, if he had kicked two out he may well have lost. In that scenario, being enterprising, as some call it, would actually have been to give the horse a bad ride.

I know people will say I should not knock Soumillon for his ride on Orfevre and that I am talking through my pocket. Yes I lost money on Orfevre, but I always believe that you should say it as you see it, and as I see it, Soumillon should have won.

My selection today follows on from a 5 star winner at the weekend. Today I like Gladiatrix in the first race at Windsor. This horse is on a role having won her last two races and has proven soft ground form. She ran a gig speed figure last time which makes her well treated today and in an amateur riders race having Simon Walker on board is never a bad thing. I am pretty keen on this filly and rate her as a 4 star bet.

I am in the studio today for all the action from Pontefract and we will be on air from 1.30.

All the best.

Today's Selection

2.20 Windsor - 4* Gladiatrix

* If I have a strong view about a selection I will always make that apparent and I scale the confidence I have in my selections. One is minimum faith and 10 is maximum bet stuff.



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