Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
|Saturday 18th April 2015|
Kool Kompany and Moheet won’t Bother the Judge
I am not convinced that we saw a Classic winner at this years Craven meeting, albeit we saw a fair number of good horses.
If there was a Classic winner on show it will in my opinion be Osaila. She won the Nell Gwyn in gritty fashion having got a far from perfect trip. Stuck on the wide outside of the field from a poor draw she saw plenty of daylight and had to work hard just to get into contention. She was also racing against the prevailing pace bias that persists at the track, a bias that favors front runners. She has plenty of seasoning and conditioning going forward into a Classic and the extra furlong of the 1000 Guineas will suit so she has a shout but it is more than likely she will not be good enough.
Kool Kompany won the Craven Stakes and much has been made of the fact that he did so whilst carrying a penalty. This in my opinion is completely missing the point if not irrelevant. Quite simply he got an easy lead against the favored far rail. That is the main reason he won, not because he was far superior to the rest and able to give them weight. Yes, he is clearly a good horse and he will run a decent race in the 2000 Guineas, but he is really unlikely to encounter such a favorable pace bias ever again. His stable companion Moheet shaped as the best horse in the race, closing well once balanced having been held up at the back. He will go on to much better things, but neither should trouble the judge in the Guineas.
Another easy lead performance was posted by Home of the Brave in the Free Handicap. He was keen in the early stages of the race, but eventually settled under James Doyle in part due to the skills of the jockey and in part due to there being no pace pressure from any other horse. He found plenty in the closing stages which is tantamount to his raw ability. He clearly possesses plenty of speed and it is possible he is a sprinter going forward. For now he may have a go a the 2000 Guineas and he will go well if getting a soft lead on a track that rewards such a style but that is surely unlikely.
There is some brilliant action on Racing UK today. The Scottish Grand National takes centre stage and the Greenham meeting at Newbury is as packed full of quality as ever.
My first selection comes in the shape of I Shot The Sheriff in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. He has been very impressive in winning his latest two starts for Tony Martin. He is open to a lot more improvement and gets plenty of weight from some of the principles like Irving who has to give him 19lb which is a huge ask. In short he is well treated, lightly-raced and in good form for a shrewd trainer. Plenty to like then and he should be backed with confidence.
It is with less confidence that I approach the Scottish Grand National. However, I think the 40/1 that Coral offer about Summery Justice should be taken. He finished fifth in this race last year and gets to race off a lower mark today. He is also relatively fresh compared to some having had only three races this season. It is hard to assess what sort of form he is in but he did finish second in the Eider Chase before unseating his rider in the Midlands Grand National last time out. He is prone to the odd mistake but he looks to be good each way value at 40/1.
Angus McNae's Saturday tips:
2.35 Ayr: I Shot The Sheriff
Scottish Grand National: Summery Justice