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Angus McNae

Angus McNae - Saturday 28th September 2013

Even at 16-1 the King is worth backing each-way

I have been in Chantilly this week filming the latest edition of Planet Turf, which is a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe special that you can see from Tuesday.

The trip itself will be the subject of a detailed diary that will also be available here on Tuesday.

Chantilly is the epicentre of racehorse training in France. It houses the top trainers, who train horses at what I would describe as the most fantastic facilities I have ever seen.

The gallops are wonderful and stretch for miles and miles through avenues of trees. Horses can work on sand, grass or Polytrack that is constantly groomed and maintained by the governing body - France Galop – much like those at Newmarket and the Jockey Club.

The tranquil setting in which the horses work aids their temperament in that they appear relaxed, calm and go about their work without pulling hard or whipping round or refusing to go on the gallops. No wonder this place has churned out Group One winner after Group One winner over the years.

Having been to Chantilly twice this year, and Deauville once, I think there is only one word that can be used to describe how horses are trained in Chantilly and that is PATIENCE.

The trainers are in no hurry to race two-year-olds; time after time I heard a trainer say if we cannot run this year there is always next year.

Accordingly horses are brought along steadily and quietly. On the gallops the lads ride the horses with long stirrup leathers keeping them balanced. There is no playing at jockeys or trying to ride as short as Lester Piggott.

The horses rarely do fast work. Yes they work, but it is controlled and steady with the emphasis on bringing them along slowly.

This approach means that the horses leave the gallops having enjoyed themselves, which is key to getting them to return over and over again. Happy horses who have been allowed to develop in their own time is the French way, and Chantilly is the perfect place to execute this type of training. 

The racing this weekend on is excellent and it is easy to fancy a few horses. Firstly I think we should take on the hot favourite in the Royal Lodge Stakes.

Berkshire looks certain to be all the rage for the race after his impressive Royal Ascot success. His trainer and their team think the world of him and Ollie Cole, the son and trainer’s assistant to Paul, could not hide his enthusiasm on Racing UK recently when asked if this was the best horse they have had in the yard.

For all this horse’s undoubted class and potential he is going to have to improve to beat Somewhat, trained by Mark Johnson.

This hose was electric when he won the Washington Singer at Newbury last month. He made all and readily pulled clear in a very fast time. In fact, in terms of speed, he has already proved that he can run faster than Berkshire. As important as pure speed is how the race is likely to be run today. At a track where making the running is a big advantage, he looks as if he will get his own way out in front.

As such with Berkshire being a hold-up horse, Somewhat is probably going to have a considerable tactical advantage over the favourite.

The brilliant Gerard Mosse will be able to dictate the pace of the race and I can see this step up to a mile really suiting this strong galloping son of Dynaformer. Somewhat should be backed to win the Royal Lodge at 2-1. 

Secondly I am keen on King George River in the Cambridgeshire. You may remember that when I did my Turftrax sectional analysis at York I suggested this was a horse to follow and that he should be backed at 33-1 for the Cambridgeshire.

Well, if you got involved then at least you have a runner and secondly I think you have a runner with a big chance and at a best-price 16-1 you are on at fair odds. 

This is what I wrote after York. 

Kicking three or four furlongs out may look good to the naked eye, but it is not energy efficient and not mathematically effective. If a horse has a finishing kick, using it at the finish. This is relevant to King George River who ran in the six-furlong handicap won by Short Squeeze on the Friday of the meeting.

This horse is a very good performer on the all-weather, and thus it is of no surprise that he ran well at York.

He has a bright turn of foot, which has won him decent Polytrack races but in this contest he was asked to quicken between the four and the three pole; between these points he posted a furlong of 11.05s. This was too much too soon.

Robert Tart is a good young rider, but this proactive move was ill-timed. King George River is entered in the Cambridgeshire and is 33-1 with William Hill for that event, He is worth backing each-way at that price to a small stake.

He is now priced up at 16-1 with most firms and if you are not on at the 33-1 advised a small each-way investment now at this price is still worth a go. 


Angus’s Saturday tips:

2.00 Newmarket: Somewhat at 2-1 with bet365

3.50 Newmarket: King George River at 16-1 with Paddy Power(each-way at 33-1 already advised)



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