Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 10th May 2014
   
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Last week’s racing shows eye-witness weakness

It is totally unsatisfactory that the 2000 Guineas was divided into two separate races on different sides of the track.

It is unsatisfactory because the pace scenarios in each group could easily be different, as could the ground they are racing on.

There is no easy solution to this, other than to narrow the track and I suspect that is not an option for the Newmarket executive, clerk of the course Michael Prosser said as much afterwards.

What we must strive for is racing where the best horse wins the race, not where the winner was the one who was in the more favoured group.

I heard it said in various quarters that Kingman did not stay in the Guineas. Really? The sectional times suggest that he was strong enough in the finish to illustrate that he got the mile without problem.

He looked as if he recoiled from his big figure and fast time win in the Greenham Stakes, and while he regressed Night of Thunder came on for the run in that race.

A combination of these two factors allowed the result to be reversed.

The 1000 Guineas was a triumph as a race and an advertisement for the mastery of Andre Fabre as a trainer. Little more need be said, except that the Prix Imprudence in which Miss France was beaten reinforces the important message that form in races that are not run at a proper or even pace is not form to be relied upon.

When compiling speed figures for a meeting, slowly run races must be classified as chuck out races because they skew the analysis of how a track variant can be deduced and Fabre stated clearly on before the race that the Imprudence was a chuck-out contest.

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The Chester Vase on Thursday was won by Orchestra, who narrowly held on from the fast-finishing Romsdal. Traditional thinking will have it that Romsdal will reverse the form when, and if, they meet again.

This thinking is born out of the fact that he was hampered, a fact that leads to a presumption that the amount of ground lost when hampered was more than the nose he was beaten by. This is too simplistic. A better way of looking at it is to think about expenditure of energy. When Romsdal was hampered he was being niggled along, while the winner was cruising on the bridle.

The winner then kicked for home off the turn using up his energy reserves to establish a distinct advantage. He then paid for this late on as he ran out of gas. On the other hand Romsdal saved energy when he was hampered, allowing him to come home stronger.

I am adamant that if they met again, and Orchestra had his effort delayed for longer with his energy distributed more evenly he would easily beat Romsdal, who has little tactical speed. If asked to race harder and earlier he would not be able to finish as he did. Being hampered can be a blessing in disguise in terms of energy reservation.

The Kentucky Derby produced a visually impressive winner in the form of California Chrome, but the Beyer figure of 97 that he produced is the worst since he started compiling figures. Evidence, if in this modern era we still needed it, of visual impressions being nothing without evidence of the clock to confirm or contradict our eyes.

Those are just a few thoughts as we move forward to the Dante meeting next week where I think we are going to see this year's Derby winner. More of that here on the blog on Wednesday.

As for today I like Dubawi Island in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock. This race is often won by a useful Flat horse, who has shown ability over hurdles and is lightly raced. This horse fits the bill, and can maintain his unbeaten record in this valuable prize.

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Angus McNae's Saturday selection:

3.30 Haydock: Dubawi Island each-way at 15-2 with Coral and Paddy Power