Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 20th December 2014

Racing UK

Here’s two against the field in the Ladbroke

I am delighted that Jamie Spencer is going to continue to ride.

For starters he is a world-class jockey. He understands racing, has an affinity with horses and is a master when it comes to race tactics, which, in a nutshell boils down to an understanding of pace. With such talent this industry needs him.

He is also too young to retire and given the above has loads more to offer. Another important point is that if he were to hang his boots up now he would be going out with a whimper, whereas a man of his talent should look to bow out on a high. His statistics last season were unimpressive. His strike rate of 11% is ordinary and that came from just 466 rides.

Now unleashed from his commitments to Qatar Racing he will surely pick up more rides next season and I anticipate his strike-rate to rocket above 15%.

Richard Hughes and Ryan Moore are 18% and 21% men respectively, and Spencer is as talented as they are and as such looks set to have a much better season than he has just had.

Ladbrokes currently go Even money that he rides 100 winners next season. This is no bargain but if he hits about 15% in 2015 he will need approximately 700 rides to find 100 winners. That is entirely possible, and I would not blame you if you availed yourself of Even money and enjoyed a season of cheering home Spencer ridden winners.

There is some excellent racing on on Saturday, particularly at Ascot. The Ladbroke Hurdle is as competitive as ever, but with some big prices on offer and small fields either side of it I think it is a race worth having a crack at.

First up I will be backing Goodwood Mirage each way at 14-1 with Ladbrokes. Essentially I believe he is a lot better than the bare result at Wetherby last time, when he idled on the run-in before holding on from Lightening Rod. Lightning Rod was getting lumps of weight, but has gone on to win twice since and has given the form a solid look.

Goodwood Mirage can be keen, but this competitive race should yield a decent pace and importantly he will get plenty of cover. He looks sure to run well under the champion jockey.

A second bet in the race has to be Activial. I know he has been well found in the market but he has a great chance. He may be only 4-1 with the sponsors, but he has to be backed even at that price. He looked very good when he won the Grade Two Adonis Hurdle last season and on that form could be leniently treated here off a mark of 137. When he won the Adonis, Noel Fehily was on board and it is a real bonus that this talented rider is back on board today. While 4-1 may seem to be a poor price I think he has to be backed as he has such an outstanding chance.

Angus McNae's Saturday tips:

3.30 Ascot: Goodwood Mirage at 18-1 with Skybet

3.30 Ascot: Activial at 5-1 with BetVictor