Horses To Follow » Mac Love

Mac Love

They played into Mac Love’s hands a little by setting such a sedate pace in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom last Friday. That said, there was a lot to like about the performance that the son of Cape Cross (it was a weekend for them) put in to land the spoils. Settled out the back in the early stages, he was still last of the eight runners and at least five lengths behind the leader when Micky Fenton switched him to the outside and asked him to pick up two furlongs out, but he quickened impressively and passed all of his rivals to get up and beat Confront, eased down, by three parts of a length.

Mac Love only just about gets a mile, hence the advantage to him due to the sedate early gallop. However, the last place you want to be when the pace is slow is at the back of the field. That is how Mac Love likes to be ridden, so that is where he was. When you are out the back of a slow pace, you are invariably trying to make your ground into a quickening pace, which is difficult. In the Diomed, the four horses who occupied the first four places at the top of the home straight finished second, third, fourth and fifth behind Mac Love. The three horses who occupied three of the four places at the back of the field at the top of the home straight finished third last, second last and last. Mac Love was the only one who came from behind and was able to get in among the leaders, and he showed such a turn of foot into a quickening pace that he came from last to first.

This was a decent race, a genuine Group 3, and the fact that Confront finished second adds a huge degree of solidity. Michael Stoute’s horse has always been highly thought-of, he was a good winner of a decent handicap on Guineas weekend on his seasonal debut, and he was well backed in the morning for this. On top of that, he got the run of the race, he settled nicely in second place, just outside the leader, which is pretty much where you want to be when the pace is slow. Even so, he had no answer to Mac Love’s finishing kick. He did lose a shoe, and therefore may be deserving of another chance, but it is impossible to know the extent of the effect that that had.

Mac Love had run really well on his seasonal debut in a hot listed race at Goodwood, when he came there through horses looking like the most likely winner at one point only to fade inside the final 50 yards and finish fourth, beaten less than a half a length. He has obviously come on from that, however, to post one of the highest Racing Post rating of his career at Epsom on Friday (on his 60th start), and the turn of foot that he showed will be a potent weapon now over a mile or even seven furlongs. Stef Liddiard has her team in fine form these days, and it would not be at all surprising to see Mac Love go on from here now. He obviously handles the cambers at Epsom and Goodwood well, and he would be an interesting contender in the Celebration Mile or the Lennox Stakes at the latter.

5th June 2009