DAQMAN NAP NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT! Daqman reveals the real king of the Dewhurst, and the real reason why non-runners pain the punter. And he has a 5-1 nap at Kempton tonight to follow up yesterday’s Short Work (WON 7-4). Nice work if you can get it!


Give credit to Gentleman Jim! The Bolger runners in the Dewhurst Stakes have been out of the frame only once since his hat-trick in the race (2006-8), which included New Approach, who would sire the 2012 winner for the stable, Dawn Approach.

You could argue that Jim Bolger’s Dewhurst record of five wins in seven years (form figures to date 11103113) is better this century than, certainly equal to, that of Aidan O’Brien (five winners but more runners, as is his style) and certainly of Sir Michael Stoute (one win in 1986).

It’s all about when and where you run your best horses, what path to glory you choose, and Bolger has charted the course of his top colts through the Dewhurst more successfully than any since Vincent O’Brien, who saddled two of his greats, Nijinsky and The Minstrel, in a Dewhurst-winning spree of seven successes between 1969 and 1983.

Bolger rates Verbal Dexterity among his best, yet Stoute has the favourite for Saturday’s big trial. They are the standouts, despite the presence of seven O’Brien colts in the remaining 15.

Seven left in by any other trainer would carry the qualifier ‘possibles’ but with O’Brien they are ‘probables,’ with his penchant for running a battalion in each top contest.

Stoute’s favourite Expert Eye was impressive at Goodwood, beating Zaman further than did O‘Brien’s Gustav Klimt on the July Course.

That warrants an official 118 mark, duly franked, but the Eye hasn’t been seen on a racecourse for 74 days and Verbal Dexterity has improved in the meantime.

He was beaten a length by Beckford in the Railway Stakes but beat him three-and-a-half lengths in the National Stakes. Future rating 117.

At 118-117 the top pair against the O’Brien army, I think we could be in for a more informative Dewhust than the bookies’ running-scared odds-on quotes for Expert Eye would have us believe.


2.15 Nottingham The report on non-runners in the Racing Post today reveals that small trainers are the main ‘culprits,’ among them Steph Hollinshead, who saddles The Golden Cue and Billiebrookedit in this race.

She explains that, with low-level horses in a small string, she’s doing her best for her owners, and it is very difficult to line up a straight pot for any of them, particularly the delicate ones.

What has not been said is that the BHA is passing the buck. Punters are not upset about non-runners. Punters are upset about non-runners where their bets are voided or damaged.

A single horse removed from races of five, seven, eight and 16 runners reduces place opportunities and pay-outs.

In the first case, small fields simply shouldn’t be allowed. Races of fewer than 10 should all be reopened.

Granted weather problems et al, generally speaking small fields, particularly continually so for one race or group of races, mean that racing’s planners have failed.

In the case of big fields, we are almost always talking about handicaps, many of them now tightly packed into a small weight range.

To have them all in divisions where required with a minimum of 18 runners topped up by reserves would ease congestion and swallow up the non-runners problem; job done.

Good luck today, Steph, and, if you are in the least worried about your horse, take him out with a vet’s cert and charge the owner.

That there are fewer individual owners is another red herring. With the amount of money now involved, we have, and we need to have, many more shared horses and small syndicates given incentives and flexibility to combat domination by the few in an age of giant stables and billionaire ownership groups.


2.50 Nottingham Though this two-year-old race is the same level four as the 2.15 nursery, this one – as an EBF stallions event – has four runners with Group-1 entries.

They are First Eleven, Merlin Magic, Regal Director and Savenna Star. Two of them trained by John Gosden.

The one that catches the eye is the Frankel. On the dam’s side First Eleven (Ryan Moore booked) is half-brother to Gosden’s seven times (out of eight) winner, Kingman, whose only defeat was when beaten a head in the 2,000 Guineas.

3.50 Nottingham Philip Hide must have noticed that Graham Lee is on a hat-trick in this race, so he’s booked Graham for Dragon’s Voice. Both trainer and jockey are former Jumps riders.

Dragon’s Vocie is at the top of the handicap but has never won with less than 9st. In fact, he has carried 9-7 and 10-1 for his last successes, both on the good-to-soft ground he’s likely to encounter today.

4.55 Nottingham John Gosden and William Buick have a huge 37% strike-rate when teaming up on this track, and Buick is here at Colwick Park for the one ride on Gosden’s William Sayle, who has that ‘could be anything’ look, with a lone AW win from two starts but, reappearing as a gelding, is with one of the yard’s top owners, Princess Haya.

7.55 Kempton Robert Cowell is a maestro with sprinters and he drops Group-placed Blue De Vega five rungs down the ladder, back from a break. This looks like shrewd placing. Nap at BETDAQ 6.0 this morning.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 20 points at morning BETDAQ offers)
BET 7.2pts win FIRST ELEVEN (2.50 Nottingham)
BET 8pts win DRAGONS VOICE (3.50 Nottingham)
BET 5.4pts win WILLIAM SAYLE (4.55 Nottingham)
BET 4pts win (nap) BLUE DE VEGA (7.55 Kempton)

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