Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 9th August 2014

Racing UK

Ignore the Lasix debate, it’s just a smokescreen for something bigger

We managed to slip away from the Sussex Downs with a profit last week courtesy of Barnet Fair, who went in for us at 14-1 last Saturday.

With a profit in the bag it is time to turn our attention to two major talking points that have emerged recently.

Firstly let us look at the desire of a number of trainers in the USA to ban the use of Lasix on raceday.

Earlier this month a group of 25 trainers in the USA came out and signed  a document to bring an end to the use of Lasix, a diuretic, in racing across the Atlantic.

Todd Pletcher was one of those who supports the move.

Are we to be impressed by this brand new anti-lasix brigade?

In my opinion they are merely playing lip service to the real issue that blights our sport and that is the use of steroids.

Nobody is going to take any anti-drugs stance seriously in the USA until they announce a no-tolerance policy to the use of steroids.

Introducing this rule in the UK will be a lasting legacy to the tenure of Paul Bittar at the British Horseracing Authority.

The rather toothless and gutless racing authorities in the USA need to adopt the same policy.

It's all well and good bleating about stopping using Lasix on raceday but how about stopping using steroids in and out of competition?  

Secondly what are we to make of Fergal Lynch's return to race riding in the UK, possibly on Monday? I am struggling with this because I am a big admirer of him as a jockey and always have been. Make no mistake he is very good. He was a cheat, however, and after ten years away from UK tracks should we forgive him or should we continue to punish him and vilify him?

He comes back on an international licence for one year.

This is clearly a tentative approach from the BHA. Essentially they are saying, ‘come back and ride, behave yourself and we will see where we go from there.’ Partial forgiveness if you like.

I think after 10 years we should give him the chance to ride here again because everybody makes mistakes in life. More importantly because he will succeed or fail based on the amount of support he gets from the industry.

Trainers and owners are therefore being asked to make the decision on his career. If they trust him and want him to ride for them they will put him up, if the misdemeanours he has committed still run deep he will not get any rides.

To return may be a pyrrhic victory for him, but to return and fail would be worse than never returning at all. His future as a jockey lies in the hands of those who train the horses that run at our tracks and that is a nice, non-committal position for the BHA to be in.

I am working at the Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday with James Willoughby and am really looking forward to it, but selections there are difficult to commit to.

I am keen on one horse and it is Hillstar in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock. He lays all over this bunch in terms of class and has the figures to show he is best with cut in the ground.

While I am scared of True Story, who is dropping in trip, I really believe that Hillstar will win this easily under Ryan Moore.

Angus McNae's Saturday tip

2.55 Haydock: Hiilstar at 7-2 with Ladbrokes