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Angus McNae

Captain's Blog - 30th March 2011

The Aintree Grand National Meeting starts next week and we will all have to deal with the question of whether horses can back up after a big effort at Cheltenham. In short, some will be able to do so and others will fail miserably but is it possible to tell which horses will perform and which will bomb out? Some people may feasibly argue that the harder the race at Cheltenham the lesser the performance at Aintree, that sounds fair but how do we assess how hard a horse had to run at the Festival?

We can identify that it was in a driving finish but that is no indication of the amount of effort put in because those horses that exert the most energy are those that have to run hard for a lot longer than the last couple of furlongs. Even if we can identify a horse that had a real tough race we are not sure what sort of constitution that horse has and whether he takes his races well or sulks and refuses to eat for a few days.

If a horse goes to Aintree with physical or mental scars from the Festival it will not win at Aintree and those scars are most likely to exist if a horse has run faster than it ever has before, if it has gone through the pain barrier and pushed itself to the limit. Such horses are difficult to identify but sectional times and speed figures from a race can help. Essentially a stand out performance can result in a below par one next time and a stand out performance cannot be identified by collateral form study or video analysis, only the clock can tell us how hard a horse had to run.

Take human athletic performance, lets say Athlete A ran the 400m and beat a world Champion one day that in itself is no indication that he has had to run hard, only his time will tell us if he had to. If he ran 46 seconds he has not been near the pain barrier but if he ran 44 seconds the effort required would have taken him much closer to it and possibly taken him through it. His time for that race tells us how hard he ran and gives us an indication as to whether he will have mental or physical scars coming out of the race.

Thus time analysis is imperative in deciding whether a horse can back up after Cheltenham. If a horse usually runs a speed figure of lets say 90 - 100 but at Cheltenham ran 120 then there is a massive chance that he will regress next time. Next week I will try and identify a few horses that may regress and a few that should be OK as they line up to do battle at Aintree.

A quiet day off for me today with a trip to Tesco being high on the agenda! I will be trying to watch something of the India vs Pakistan game in the ICC World Cup semi final as well. This is one of the greatest rivalries in sport and should be a tremendous game. I have never been any good at predicting how Pakistan will perform because they are so inconsistent but they are talented and if they are really up for this one they will give India plenty to think about. It will be a tremendous game.

Time to bid you farewell for another day, have a good one.


Today’s Selection

4:20 Catterick - Sinandinou (7/4 Bet365 )



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