ELEVEN WINS IN FIVE DAYS FOR ‘HEADMAN’ DAQMAN: Daqman has had 11 hits in five days, keeping ahead of the game with his staking plan since Sunday but abandoning it yesterday, looking to land a treble. He got the three but not together and without an odds-against boost to go with his hot pots: Headman (WON 3-5), Madhmoon (WON 4-7), Platform Nineteen (WON 2-7).

GREAT DAY PLANNED FOR BULL’S-EYE HANDICAP BET: It’s Newbury’s opening day today and The Curragh card includes the return of Epsom Derby favourite, Sir Dragonet. There’s a bull’s-eye bet at Nottingham and another one tomorrow in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap. Today’s headlines:



2.55 Newbury If The Queen and Sir Michael Stoute, as owner and trainer, have got rid, then not a lot could be expected of the cast-off Frontispiece but, all credit to Amanda Perrett and Kieran Shoemark, in scoring from the front with him here at Newbury (1m 4f, good to soft) in June.

The third, fourth and fifth have all won since, and he’s up only 3lb, but can he get the extra furlong and a half, back on the same course today? BETDAQ offers of 9.4 say he’s worth a punt.

The versatile Eminem did the trick, conjuring success over 7f, then 1m, then 1m 2f, finally scoring at Sandown on the last day over 1m 6f.

He’d won off 90 before so his 82 today is not the problem: it’s his modest strike rate on turf (much better on AW) that’s the worry. His previous success was in the middle of 28 defeats.

Petite Jack is also best on AW and Mandalayan has won only his maiden, always a bad sign. War Brigade, a winner at Newbury in October, has been thereabouts at a lower level since.

Battle Of Wills has climbed the grades. A 72 winner (1m, class 5) in December, he made all off 82 at Ripon on the last day (1m 4f, class 4) and now has to step up again off 90 and over the longer trip. Tall order but stable in fine form.

The ‘hidden horse’ is the unexposed Walter White, a winner over 1m 5f in the French Provinces and not given a hard time on his Kempton debut for Alan King.

Progeny of his sire and dam’s sire both have highish strike-rates on the soft. I say he’s ‘hidden’ but Walter White was a big overnight punt, in to 4.5.


3.30 Newbury (St Hugh’s Stakes) Winners of this Listed went on to take the Cheveley Park, Cornwallis and Lowther Stakes, so a potential launchpad today for two-year-old filly talent.

I thought I saw some in Hand On My Heart at Windsor, so tipped her for the Molecomb. She didn’t enjoy the rock ‘n roll of a big field on the Goodwood hill, and I determined to give her another chance today.

I was worried about her high draw but I see that stall 12 has won this on the soft and, in an open race at 5.1 the field, I took some win and place at 12.0 and 3.75.

Another Windsor maiden also threw up Divine Spirit, and she, too, was then plunged into the deep end after one run, not disgraced in the Queen Mary but with Al Raya finishing in front of her.

After a 5f double in the Spring, Good Vibes was declared ‘the best I’ve trained’ by David Evans but she was found out trying to make all at Ascot (Group 3) over an extra furlong, and this is the sensible thing today, going for some black type at a lower level, but she has to give 3lb to the entire field.


4.10 Nottingham (Colwick Cup) Many years ago, before sliced bread, I would regularly frequent Colwick Park, always on the look-out for Tennis Shoes.

He was the owner of a salacious night club in the city whom I interviewed as a reporter, and decided he would make a brilliant politician. Why waste my talents in Westminster, he shrugged.

His talents included giving me the nod at the track. He was particularly good with Ben Hanbury’s, well before that immaculate figure trained Midway Lady (1986 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner).

Tennis Shoes was himself always well turned out, apart from the inappropriate footwear, come rain or shine, but he was sharp as the crease in his pants.

The conversation as I ‘casually bumped into him’ somewhere down the line of Rails bookies was formulaic. ‘What’s gonna win this?’ he would ask me, not really concerned with my answer.

Whatever was my reply, he was brief and to the point in his response: ‘Nah, the top one!’ If that ‘top one’ was a Hanbury, I would get on, with double my usual stake. I still find myself looking at a Nottingham card and wondering: ‘What would Tennis Shoes have picked?’

This Colwick Cup is a bad race for favourites, so I could do with some help. The handicapper has lumped a stone on Rochester House for back-to-back wins in class 4, and Sir Michael Stoute reaches for a first-time visor for maiden-only winner Laafy.

Litterale Ci hasn’t won on the Flat for more than three years but will have plenty of euros, if not pounds, on her after the mare’s excellent third in a big handicap at the Galway Races.

Some Not So Sleepy English punters who watched another big-field handicap at the July Meeting will recall that Hughie Morrison’s eponymous class-2 player might have given Kings Advice a race had he not been denied a clear run on firm ground he hated. I took 6.6 on BETDAQ this morning.

Saroog landed a hat-trick in his only firm-surface starts. Front-runner African Jazz was third in the Gordon Carter last backend, and is likely to play catch-me, though may also prefer a firm surface.


5.45 Curragh Stakes Jessica Harrington won this last year with her Phoenix Stakes fourth. Here she saddles Millisle, runner-up on the last day to the Phoenix Stakes fifth.

The filly has a lot of pace but whether she acts on this easier surface is an unknown, as it is for most juveniles.

Sheila Lavery’s Albany sixth, Lil Grey, does. She beat a race of colts over 6f on today’s course on yielding in June, but needs a strong pace dropped back to the minimum today.

King Neptune was all at sea at Goodwood but had run in the Norfolk Stakes and the July Stakes earlier, putting a fair foot forward. Likewise, Air Force Jet ran in the Norfolk before failing at Goodwood.

Real Appeal is on a hat-trick here, a hat-trick of finishing stone last! Blinkers seem to have helped only once – when winning at Maisons in May – so, in his first run for Jim Bolger, he wore cheekpieces.. and finished last.


6.15 The Curragh (Irish St Leger Trial) Father and son have taken over the entire race. Aidan O’Brien runs two, and his trainer son, Joseph, four.

Mighty Ballydoyle St Leger winners prepped in this as three-year-olds and won it (Order Of St George and Flag of Honour) and the solitary second-season animal here, Eminent Authority, might be the surprise packet for Joseph.

Racing for only the third time, he ran green in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, but gets a good pull in the weights today off a solid rating. The Curragh will suit this grand, big horse.

Joseph sees Eminent Authority (10.0 BETDAQ bet today) as a Cup horse for next year and has him in the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October.

He already knows the score for the Ascot Gold Cup, having saddled Master Of Reality for third in the race in June, but the Frankel gelding was fast enough to win the Vintage Crop Stakes (1m 6f) in the Spring.

Joseph’s third contender today, Downdraft, ridden by brother Donnacha, had been seen as an Ebor Handicap horse but the York feature is now packed with Group horses hunting down the £600,000 prize (see Daqman column on Wednesday).

Capri for Aidan O’Brien was behind Master Of Reality at both Navan and Ascot and, though favourite, Southern France could not reach the front three (including Joseph O’Brien’s Latrobe) in the Curragh Cup.


6.45 The Curragh (Royal Whip) The Derby form we sniggered at seems to have worked out, at least within the same Classic generation.

Madhmoon (Desmond Stakes yesterday), Japan (King Edward V11 at Royal Ascot and Grand Prix de Paris, Longchamp) and Circus Maximus (St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot) have all won major races since, after finishing second, third and sixth at Epsom.

The only losers, Anthony Van Dyck and Broome, were part of the Irish Derby field won, or rather demolished, by Sovereign. The jury is out on whether that was for real or was fake news.

Today is the day for the fifth horse home at Epsom, Sir Dragonet, the Derby favourite, who led 100 yards out.

This time of year is scarce on supernaps. Yesterday, they all came together and I blew my staking plan trying to get them all up. There’s always something lets you down but Sir Dragonet as a single makes 50% profit this morning to put us back on the straight-and-narrow path of winning enough to pay for our handicap bets.


2.55 Newbury (win 20)
BET 5.75pts win WALTER WHITE

3.30 Newbury (win 20, win 10 place)
BET 1.8pts win and 3.5pts place HAND ON MY HEART

4.10 Nottingham (win 50)

5.45 The Curragh (win 10)
BET 5.5pts win LIL GREY

6.15 The Curragh (win 20, win 10 place)
BET 2pts win and 3.5pts place EMINENT AUTHORITY

6.45 The Curragh (supernap)

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