Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Wednesday 18th January 2017

Racing UK

Something For The Weekend: Front-runner Ar Mad ripe for the taking

The Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase at Ascot is the feature event on Saturday and it is going to be a fascinating tactical battle.

Ar Mad
© Racehorse Photos
Johnny Og

The race looks set to be run at a furious gallop with Ar Mad, Un De Sceaux, Top Gamble and Special Tiara all like to force the pace. In such a scenario the ability to settle and take a lead can be vital, as can be a jockey’s acumen.

If this was a dirt race I would be keen to back Ar Mad, who looks the choice of the speedsters, but it is not and at the current odds of 2-1 I believe he is the one to oppose. Here are five reasons for going against him.

1. Ar Mad has to be allowed to bowl along in front. He is not really amenable to restraint and as such lacks tactical versatility. He seems certain to be forced to go hard early on by the likes of Special Tiara and as a result he could be vulnerable late in the race.

2. He was forced to run hard in the Tingle Creek in December and that could have left its mark even though he has had enough time to recover to avoid the dreaded bounce factor in which horses recoil after a big run.

3. Once Ar Mad was beaten in the Tingle Creek, he appeared to rally and run on again as if, according to some, he got his second wind. I do not buy in to that argument at all. I think he was put away comfortably by Un De Sceaux, Sire De Grugy and God’s Own, who all finished ahead of him, and then they paid for their efforts late in the race to make it look like he was rallying. In fact, Ar Mad was keeping on at one pace against tiring rivals.

4. Ascot is a difficult track to make all the running at because its stiff nature mitigates against front runners. Ar Mad’s career best effort came at the flatter and speedier Kempton, and even at Sandown where front-running seems to be more favourable he could not get the job done. In essence surely he wants a flat track?

5. Ruby Walsh in a recent interview on Racing UK said that Ar Mad was a big danger. It means he is already thinking about the race and already plotting how best to upset the favourite. Whereas Ar Mad has to lead, Un De Sceaux does not and Ruby knows this, thus he has the tactical edge.
In addition to this, in a race where pace judgement could prove crucial Walsh is simply a lot better than his rival jockeys.

Angus McNae’s Something for the Weekend

Lay Ar Mad at 2-1 for the Clarence House Chase.