3-1 FOR BETTING ICON DAQMAN: Daqman had a 40% strike rate to open a new week’s betting yesterday, after four naps up out of five last week. He’s at Lingfield today with nap, doubles and trebles. These are yesterday’s hits:

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WON 5-4 Aurora Gray

BETDAQ IS A WORLD OF VALUE: First in line today is a look at the rankings for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham, the fourth stats-and-ratings feature in a Daqman series based on the ante-post markets in your BETDAQ exchange betting service. Check it out thoroughly every day: there’s always value lurking.


The World Hurdle is wide open. There’s so often a giant around, a repeat winner – Barracouda won twice, Inglis Drever three times, Big Buck’s four – that it’s rarely a betting race.

But the current holder, eight-wins-in-a-row Thistlecrack, has an even bigger target this time around. He’s outgrown them all and now goes to the very top for the Gold Cup.

Runner-up last year, Alpha Des Obeaux, might be back. So, too, Cole Harden, winner of the World Hurdle in 2015. The stats are on his side: they say that, until Thistlecrack, who is clearly a law unto himself, only if you’ve won it before can you take the prize above the age of seven (just 2-20 have broken that rule).

So, with the BETDAQ ante-post orange as my guide, I have checked the runners for age and improvement, as I have done for the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup and Champion Chase over the last two weeks.

I find that the two market leaders, Faugheen and Unowhatimeanharry, are both 9 now and only Solwhit (2013) has taken the title for the first time at that age since Brown Lad in 1975.

176 Faugheen (aged 9): off highest mark but absent a year since Irish Champion win.
167 Jezki (9) similar rating for three years now and not seen since April 2015.
167 Unowhatimeanharry (9): has leapt 29lb from 4-4 hurdles wins in 2016.
159 Cole Harden (8): not won and dropped 6lb since his 2015 World championship.
156 Shaneshill (8): rating has held since last season despite eight consecutive defeats
154 Vroum Vroum Mag (8): rating static since mares’ hurdle win at Cheltenham.

The youngsters still have it to find with the top three older horses, and much depends on the weather to allow meetings in England and Ireland in the next five weeks to straighten out the entries.

Here are the top four aged six and seven which, with the older horses above, makes up a Top Ten for the race with ratings assessed:

162 Ballyoptic (7): up a stone this season but beaten by Unowhatimeanharry
160 Nichols Canyon (aged 7) a nearly horse in the last year but has held his rating
157 Snow Falcon (6): up 9lb but third to Vroum Vroum Mag in Christmas Hurdle.
155 Alpha Des Obeaux (7): has been chasing and hurdles mark is down 11lb

LATEST NEWS: The 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree won’t be ready for Cheltenham, and revised targets are for the Aintree and Punchestown festival.

NEXT: The next race due for my ratings review is the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. After that, See How They Won, a guide to races past and future which point up the festival winners.


1.30 Lingfield Winners of (one bumper, one hurdle) races in which Naranja has been placed have both won again since.

And, if you want to condemn 8.4 offer Phoeniciana for her ‘bridesmaid’ form (placed without winning), be warned that both her hurdles places were up Towcester’s hillclimb finish and she is on a flat track today.

Add to that today’s heavy ground and The Nipper (bumpers hat-trick but fell when beaten in first hurdle at Wetherby) ought not be the odds-on shot the morning markets offer.

In her favour is that her trainer, Warren Greatrex, is 3-3 in similar races here; The Nipper is the champion jockey’s only ride of this grey day at Lingfield; the race is cutting up because of the ground; and her rider at Wetherby said that only greenness had cost her the race.

Soiesauvage, who is with a local stable, is having her first hurdles start in England on the very soft ground that won her a Flat race in France by 10 lengths but, despite withdrawals, she has drifted like a lonely dog on raft, right over my betting weir to 19.0 on BETDAQ, with just six runners remaining.

2.00 Lingfield Another Gary Moore heavy-ground winner, Golanova, can’t beat Coolking if the weights work out. Only Lord Heathfield of the older horses here has won a chase since last Spring.

Themanfrom Minella is high in the weights and Heroes Or Ghosts is knocking on the door without really threatening to open it.

That leaves Song Saa, with a stamina pedigree and down in grade from a good run on the New Course at Cheltenham. A hurdles winner on heavy ground, and just shading 4.0 as I write.

2.30 Lingfield Coeur Tantre and Steel City are closely matched on CD form last month. Dual CD winner Sea Wall, only seventh on good-to-soft going when favourite that day, could be a different proposition on this heavy ground.

But Druid’s Folly hasn’t put a foot wrong, except the one that lost a shoe at Market Rasen in November, which probably cost him a hat-trick.

BACK 2pts win and place PHOENICIANA (1.30 Lingfield)
BACK 6pts win SONG SAA (2.00 Lingfield)
BACK 9pts win (nap) DRUID’S FOLLY (2.30 Lingfield)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 5 x 1pt win doubles and 2 x 1pt win trebles Phoeniciana and The Nipper (1.30 Lingfield), with Song Saa (2.0 Lingfield) and Druid’s Folly (2.30 Lingfield)

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