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Angus McNae

Angus McNae - Saturday 4th May 2013

Anabolic-free sport is an impossible dream

The British Horseracing Authority will be determined to make sure that the Al Zarooni affair is the last anabolic steroid scandal we see hit the sport.

Tighter and more regular checks will be on the agenda and those who think that they can get away with using banned substances will now think twice before filling the syringe.

It is in other sports where determination to flaunt the rules will see some slip the net. Two issues irk me and they are issues that any super-vigilant governing body would struggle with.

Firstly the history of sport tells us that when the testers get savvy the cheats become even more devious and there is no reason to expect this fact to be any different in racing.

Secondly and much more worrying is the ability of the cheats to avoid the testers and in the case of anabolic steroid use this is not difficult.
For example there is nothing to stop horses in training being removed from a licensed yard to a field somewhere, placed out of training, given steroids for a few months to build up their stamina and muscle bulk and then returned to the licensed yard when, if tested, the drug will be completely out of the horse’s system.

This misuse would be virtually impossible to police and as such it means that whilst horses in training will be anabolic free in this country, this does not mean that they have not had steroids at some point in their career.

By the time you read this I am hoping that Dreaming of Julia will have bolted up in the Kentucky Oaks. If so then I believe we have the new Rachel Alexandra on our hands, and as such in a year when the three-year-old colts in the USA are not up to much she may be good value to emulate Rachel by winning the Preakness.

American punters are often blinkered when it comes to fillies taking on the colts and we may just get a fair price come the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The Guineas this weekend at Newmarket are not races that I have had a bet in yet and in all honesty the 2,000 interests me a lot more than the fillies’ equivalent.

Dawn Approach will win in my opinion. He won the Dewhurst in a very fast time and proved that at speed he can handle the undulations.
Some people believe he hits a flat spot, but to me this is the cry of those looking for chinks in his armour when the truth is there are few, if any.
At times in his races he can look a little idle, but he has enough raw talent to win if hard pressed.

Toronado will probably be his closest pursuer. He was impressive in the Craven, but he has got to improve to beat Dawn Approach and we do not know if he will.

Garswood has plenty of support, but I am doubtful about his stamina. He could be a sprinter and whilst he may sneak into the frame others will surely out stay him.

Thus if I get involved I will be backing Dawn Approach at 11-8 and laying Garswood for a place on the exchanges at about 3.7.

If the above goes completely wrong don't worry we can all dream about Julia!


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