The Verdict: Arc is Snowfall's for the taking after Irish romp

By Harry Allwood@harry_allwood
Tue 20 Jul 2021

Harry Allwood reveals five things we learnt during the latest episode of The Verdict where Angus McNae analysed the key performances over the past week, including Snowfall’s sensational victory in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks.

Angus McNae said in the The Verdict when analysing Snowfall’s Cazoo Oaks victory in June that Aidan O’Brien’s star filly would be “virtually impossible to beat” in Group Ones this season, and it is fair to say the Racing TV presenter was just as impressed with her Juddmonte Irish Oaks victory on Saturday.

Her stunning success in the Curragh showpiece was one of a number of key performances over the past few days that Angus analysed on Monday, and our man was also rather complimentary about a Royal Ascot winner who scored at Listed level on Saturday.

As ever, a number of eyecatchers that are worth adding to your tracker were revealed during the show

Below are five things we learnt from Angus's analysis this week. All the segments from the show are also available to watch in the On Demand section on


This youngster hinted she had ability when cosily winning a barrier trial – which is available to view on the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing YouTube page – at Dundalk and cruised clear of the opposition to score by eight and a half lengths on her debut in this one-mile maiden.

It did not look the the strongest contest on paper, but she certainly made a striking impression and was only pushed out under hands and heels.

A step up in class is surely on the horizon for Joseph O’Brien’s charge, and Angus believes she looks "pretty useful".

Angus McNae said: “We had a clue as to what River Eden was going to do courtesy of a barrier trial performance at Dundalk, so we knew this filly was pretty useful.

“The final time is not particularly good, and I’m not sure the form is particularly good. However, it’s the manner of how she put her rivals away here that tells us she’s more than useful.

“She got a bit of cover and she travelled very strongly through this contest. She picked up in fantastic style, even better than she had done in her barrier trial.

“She travelled like the wrath of god in behind and she picks up tremendously well.

“She’s by Invincible Spirit out of a High Chaparral mare. There’s quite a bit of stamina on the dam’s side of her pedigree which suggests she would get further than this, but I’m not so sure she wants more than a mile as she has a high cruising speed, and loads and loads of speed.

“She cruises to the front and when Declan (McDonogh) asks her to go, the race is over in a matter of strides. She surges clear of her rivals and I think she is going to be a pretty useful filly.

“She has not got any entries at this stage, but I imagine we might see her in Listed company next.”


Having been denied a clear run twice, Imperial Eight was a shade unlucky not to make a winning debut at Hamilton on Thursday.

Despite being withdrawn for being unruly before the start ahead of her intended debut in June, she broke well and settled nicely on the rail in behind the leaders.

However, by the time she was in the clear, it was too late, and she was unable to catch the winner who had the benefit of four runs under his belt.

Angus McNae said: “She travelled quite strongly and was a tad unlucky. She was trying to get a run and was green.

“When she does get out, she takes a while to pick up. She lugs, and she hangs, and she doesn’t know what to do, but she’s closing down Gainsbourg in the closing stages.

“The winner just had a bit too much experience to call upon, but Imperial Eight has come home really well in the latter stages having got no sort of run.

“She was also quite well-backed, and I think, overall, you can say she’s a winner waiting to happen. It would have to be quite a modest race, I think, as this wasn’t a particularly special contest, but she’s definitely a horse to follow.”


This Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old was having his ninth start when successful at Leicester, which was also his fourth attempt in a handicap.

With this victory under his belt, Angus believes the son of Kodiac can progress again, although was quick to praise William Buick’s ride as his mount needs things to fall right.

He's another to add to your tracker.

Angus McNae said: “I think we saw a potentially smart sprinter at Leicester on Thursday in what was quite a good race that was certainly strongly run.

“When The Attorney raced here on his previous start, he made a premature move into a hot pace over on the far side and got tired before weakening.

“I don’t think he’s necessarily that easy and Wiliam Buick didn’t want to deliver him until the last possible minute here. He also got a pace that was run to suit, and it has played into his hands. It was one of the best rides of the week from Buick.

“He ran the final three furlongs in 38.9 seconds so, even with a strong gallop, he’s come home pretty strongly.

“I think because he’s got that speed, a stiff six is probably what he wants. A hold-up ride over that distance in a decent race is really going to suit him.”


After landing the Royal Hunt Cup on what was considered to be the unfavourable side of the track at Royal Ascot, Real World was stepped up to Listed class at Newbury on Saturday and faced some smart opposition, including Enable’s half-brother, Derab.

But Saeed bin Suroor’s colt flew home to defeat John Gosden’s charge and has been given a rating of 116 following this performance.

Angus McNae said: “I think he is a very good horse as he’s overcome trouble to win this race in grand style.

“It looked like they went a pretty even gallop, but they didn’t. The finishing speed percentage was 110.8; they’ve crawled, then sprinted.

“He was a bit keen - remember he ran over a mile last time - and he’s got lots of speed, so he was just wanting to do a bit too much in the early stages.

“Tactically, he was in a desperate spot and Derab was keeping him in, but once he gets out, he flies. That very useful rival got first run on him, and he’s picked up and run that horse down. I think Real World is miles better than the bare result.

“His final three furlongs was 33.7 seconds – that is quick! It didn’t look like he would pick up for a stride or two, but he might be a horse that returns to a mile so he can really flash that speed.

“For me, this is a very impressive performance. He’s in the Lennox Stakes, and he’s in the Golden Mile at Goodwood. He’s also in the Celebration Mile in August, and I think he’s worthy of a race like that.

“I think he’s one of the best horses we’ve seen this season.”


She had a couple of question marks to answer, but Snowfall followed up her Cazoo Oaks victory with a stunning performance in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks.

She mainly needed to prove she was capable of producing a similar effort on quicker ground, and she passed that test with flying colours.

The daughter of the late Deep Impact now has a number of options, and is entered in seven Group One contests.

Angus McNae said: “Snowfall did not let anyone down with a most impressive performance in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks. She’s, quite simply, brilliant.

“She was breath-taking when she won at Epsom. She won by a record-breaking 16 lengths there and was hugely impressive in a falsely run race.

“The Irish Oaks was an even gallop and she still won by the widest winning-margin of any Irish Oaks. She beat similar rivals that she beat at Epsom, but this was a more evenly run race, and she was just as impressive as Epsom.

“She goes through the race like a dream against the rail and travelled strongly throughout. When she comes to challenge, she picks up in tremendous fashion and I think she is the best filly around. I think she’s incredibly good.

“She also proved here that she handles decent ground and is incredibly versatile.

“As soon as she saw daylight here, she sauntered clear of her rivals. Ryan isn’t doing a lot on her and is just going through the motions.

“I think she will possibly run in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks next, and I think we will definitely see her in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Whatever ground she encounters, I think she’s going to be very hard to beat, and 4-1 for the French showpiece is a very good price as Love might not get her favoured ground.

“She’s got a beautiful pedigree, and a great mind, and that serves her really well when they go a hard pace. She’s absolutely brilliant, and the Arc is hers for the taking.

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