Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Thursday 21st August 2014

Racing UK

Alexander can shrug off penalty

The star of the show today at York is Taghrooda in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

I cannot really envisage a scenario which will lend itself to her defeat. The only problem I could see would be if there was no pace at all and she got too keen under Paul Hanagan, or if she bounced out of such a big effort at Ascot.

She should win, but for both of those stated reasons I will not be backing her at prohibitive odds.

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I will be backing Anthem Alexander in the Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes, however.

I was really impressed with her at Royal Ascot where she beat Tiggy Wiggy in the Queen Mary Stakes.

The runner-up gave the form a massive boost by routing a good sales field at Newbury, but that sort of collateral analysis is not my bag.

I prefer to watch how Anthem Alexander won the Queen Mary, and the more you watch it the more you will be impressed.

She has a very high cruising speed and bags of pace and this is a track that is much better suited to those assets than Ascot.

She does step up a furlong in trip, but I can see Pat Smullen utilising a confident patient ride and delivering her to power clear late on. Plenty of people will cite her 3lb penalty as being prohibitive, but that is nonsense, in my view. She is more than three pounds better than the field.

My second selection today is Russian Realm in the Clipper Logistics Handicap at 3.05pm.

He has not had things go his way since an impressive win at Goodwood three starts ago.

I am not one for making a host of excuses for horses, but since that win he found himself marooned in the middle of the track at Royal Ascot in the Buckingham Palace Stakes and then at Sandown Ryan Moore gave him a bit too much to do behind Velox.

There is surely more to come from this beautifully-bred colt and with Moore on board I think we have ourselves a decent each-way bet in this tricky handicap.

What did we learn from day one at York?

Postponed is potentially a top-class Group One horse.

He beat Snow Sky in the Great Voltigeur Stakes and both pulled a long way clear.

The runner-up needs to be given extra credit for making up plenty of ground from the rear of the field to get into a challenging position, but the effort of doing so ultimately cost him.

Both horses are smart and this appears to be an informative and classy renewal

Australia did what he had to in the Juddmonte International and I was impressed, but one word of caution. He beat The Grey Gatsby, who is clearly very useful, but Mukhadram ran too keen early on, and Telescope was flat and is better at 12 furlongs.

Thus to some extent the race fell apart. Nonetheless Australia could only beat those in the race and he did so very well.

One thought about Telescope is that he seems incapable of putting up two big performances together in any one season.

Last year he won at Leicester in a very fast time and could not back up after that, and perhaps the same is the case with him this season.

His produced a sensational time with his Hardwicke Stakes win at Royal Ascot and he has not backed up since. He may just be the type who recoils physically from big efforts and takes a long time to get over fast times.

I produced a non-runner and no joy with Mass Rally yesterday, who was unlucky and looks set to run well in the Ayr Gold Cup. That leaves me with a deficit of two points to make up going into day two.

Bring it on.

Angus McNae's Thursday selections:

2.30 York: Anthem Alexander at 11-4 with SkyBet

3.05 York: Russian Realm each-way at 8-1 with bet365 and SkyBet