Angus McNae - Saturday 8th June 2013
The lack of sectional times for the Derby is embarrassing
There has been some interesting chat following the Derby. A lot of it has focused on the quality of this year’s race.
Official handicappers have made it the worst Derby for a number of years and the speed figure produced by Ruler Of The World was a paltry 95.
However, this figure is not as much a reflection of the ability of the winner but of the way the race was run. A stop-start gallop meant that this year’s race turned into something of a sprint and the superbly-ridden winner had too much speed when it mattered.
Ryan Moore effectively killed the race off on the winner by sprinting clear three furlongs out and then the horse got tired late-on which caused the closers to be flattered by their proximity to the winner.
In an evenly run race where Moore could leave his challenge until later in the race I have no doubt that Ruler Of The World would have been a lot more impressive. With that in mind we must remember that he is a half-brother to Duke of Marmalade who got better with age, producing his best as a four-year-old. Yes the Derby was below par in terms of actual ratings achieved and yes it was run in a muddling way, but to underestimate the winner would be folly.
This column would not be written by me if I did not have a moan, so here goes. The Derby is the greatest and most important horse race in the world in terms of stature and the breed, yet we as an industry are not able to produce sectional times for the race. To me this is extraordinary. We can get a gauge on how the race was run by taking times at the number of paths that run across the track, but in this day and age we should not be hovering over the pause button on our remote controls, stopwatch in hand watching endless replays to get an accurate time from path to path.
Let’s have sectional times for our race and then everybody could stop the endless guessing about what happened during the greatest race in the country.
Ryan Moore is eight clear of Richard Hughes in the jockeys’ championship and his talents have been showcased on recently. Duke Of Firenze, Ruler Of The World are the high-profile big rides that everyone will remember, but let me point you in the direction of the ride he gave Almost Gemini on Wednesday night at Kempton.
It was vintage Moore and ample evidence of why he is striking at 25% this season. If you could tell me why he is 6-4 to win the jockeys’ championship with Richard Hughes still the odds-on jolly I would be interested.
This weekend will be a busy one on . I will not be part of our broadcasts as I am heading North to visit the mother-in-law and to see St Helens play Bradford on Sunday but I will be back on Monday to cover all the action from Longchamp. Despite my absence from the studio I will be taking a keen interest in two horses running today.
I like the chances of Maria's Choice in the 5.15 at Newmarket. Having been gelded he made a good start to the season when finishing fourth of eleven at Ascot. He shaped as if he may have needed the run, but more importantly he was far too keen and raced wide throughout under David Probert. With that run under his belt and Ryan Moore taking over in the saddle he looks certain to run well. I am also encouraged by the fact that he has run well at Newmarket before, finishing second at the track last year over a mile and a half. The step up to a mile and six furlongs should suit as will the ground. He looks like something worth keeping your powder dry for on a day when it would be easy to blow your stack well before 5.15pm.
My second selection is in the 7.30 at Newbury is Lord Ofthe Shadows. I take the view that he was unlucky not to win at Epsom last weekend. He was beaten half a length by Vainglory, but with a clearer run through the race he would have won. He is on a long losing run, but is well handicapped and is reunited with Richard Hughes, which is never a negative.
There is some pace signed on in the race, which will allow this horse to be switched off in rear and then be brought with a smooth challenge late on. If you are an in-running player his smooth travelling style will allow you to trade during the race and if not, I believe he will still be a sound wager.
There you have it, two selections late in the day which will hopefully supplement what has already been a good day for you all.
5.15 Newmarket: Maria's Choice at 2-1 with SkyBet
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