FORTUNE COOKIES: MAGNIFICENT SEVEN JUMP STARS: Goodbye to all that for now but the future is filled with a fine crop of horses. Jumps racing was officially suspended in Britain until July 1 by the BHA yesterday. The HRI made the same decision in Ireland earlier in the week. Daqman looks to the future with seven super Fortune Cookies which will start the 2020/21 season.
TOMORROW’S COMPUTER NATIONAL: TOP 14 ON FORM: Virtual and surreal, the Jumps will climax with computer racing on TV tomorrow, simulating a battle for supremacy between Grand National champions of the past, followed by one for the Saturday big-race field had this year’s race been run. Daqman names the top 14 on form today.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN JUMPERS
The best of times and the worst of times. All the way through the Jumps season, burning records daily at Cheltenham, then the flow of young talent hit the wall, with no Aintree; no Punchestown.
We can’t wait to see them at Cheltenham in 2021, and you will find a whole series of betting possibilities already in BETDAQ Sportsbook, with its packed ante-post section including the Gold Cup.
Here are my Fortune Cookies in advance of next season, which will be here sooner than you think, with Ireland already planning an autumn Grand National only months away.
🏇 Chacun Pour Soi (Willie Mullins) Had to miss the Champion Chase with a foot abscess or this Ladbrokes Dublin Chase winner from subsequent Ryanair star, Min, might well have beaten Politologue to the title. Min beat Politologue 20 lengths a year ago at Aintree.
🏇 Darver Star (Gavin Cromwell) His recent conquerors read like a who’s-who of rising stars – Envoi Allen, Honeysuckle and Epatante – as the once-104-rated hurdler was hiked 55lb in a year, placed in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Champion Hurdle. A future star in his own right.
🏇 Envoi Allen (Gordon Elliott) Easywork they called the second horse in the Ballymore – and he could go in anyone’s list – but the winner, Envoi Allen, drew clear of him for nine consecutive races unbeaten. Easy, easy..
🏇 Epatante (Nicky Henderson) Another year, another great mare.. or two. They were tempted to tackle her with a second progressive six-year-old, Honeysuckle, but Epatante strode away with the Champion Hurdle and is currently 162-158 better on ratings, but I did say ‘currently’. Who knows the improvement in either one next year?
🏇 Goshen (Gary Moore) Trainer states: he’s a freak! It looked that way after six wins in a row by wide margins, and Triumph Hurdle riders watched in dismay as he went 10 lengths clear in the Triumph Hurdle but made a mistake and unseated at the last.
🏇 Honeysuckle (Henry De Bromhead) After her half-length defeat of Darver Star in the Irish championship, and with Darver Star third to Epatante, the ratings look about right, but Honeysuckle confirmed her stamina for any future battles when she stopped Benie Des Dieux in the Mares Hurdle over 2m 4f.
🏇 Ravenhill (Gordon Elliott). He’s 10 so what’s he doing with my magnificent seven young jumpers? Answer: he’s grown into serious Grand National material: Fairyhouse (autumn) and Liverpool (next April).
He’s up a total of 25lb for five races, including defeat of another rising young star, Lord Du Mesnil, in the NH Chase at Cheltenham.
🗓️ NEXT WEEK: Fortune Cookies for the start of Flat 2020
NATIONAL FORM FOR THE TOP 14
1️⃣7️⃣0️⃣ Tiger Roll 10-11-10 (Gordon Elliott): He’s 20lb higher than for his first success; 11lb higher than last year, though officially rated 168. Will a vital 2lb extra virtually halt his treble bid? Surely no other will be striding out with a better (algo)rithm in the race!
1️⃣6️⃣8️⃣ Bristol de Mai 9-11-8 (Nigel Twiston-Davies): Haydock specialist and Gold Cup third (2019) who has swerved the National thus far. Giving him top weight last year didn’t help. A bit of generosity this time, 2lb less than his official mark of 170.
1️⃣6️⃣3️⃣ Ballyoptic 10-10-11 (Nigel Twiston-Davies) Fell four out, pushed along, last year. Won the autumn Charlie Hall Chase from Elegant Escape before losing touch in the Becher Chase over the big fences at Aintree in December. Back to form at Ascot on the last day.
1️⃣6️⃣2️⃣ Anibale Fly 10-11-2 (Tony Martin) Another penalised by the handicapper, officially on 158. Fourth (2018) and fifth (last year; hampered four out) in previous Nationals and, in fact, he will be 13lb better for 16 and a half lengths with Tiger Roll, 8lb better with Walk In The Mill, 9lb with Magic Of Light.
1️⃣6️⃣2️⃣ Elegant Escape 8-11-2 (Colin Tizzard) 8-11-2 The 2018 Coral Welsh Grand National winner was third in the Ladbrokes Trophy (old Hennessy) in November and sixth in this year’s Chepstow race. Still only eight.
1️⃣5️⃣8️⃣ Magic Of Light 9-10-12 (Jessica Harrington): The mare’s rating is 7lb higher than when second, beaten two-and-threequarter lengths, last year but she is 4lb better off with Tiger Roll. Is that enough? ‘Always being held’ when Tiger Roll ‘drew clear.’
1️⃣5️⃣7️⃣ Yala Enki 10-10-11 (Paul Nicholls) Third for the last two years in the Coral Welsh Grand National, and filled the same place in the Haydock Park National trial in February.
1️⃣5️⃣6️⃣ Burrows Saint 7-10-10 (Willie Mullins) Completed a hat-trick when winning the 2019 Irish Grand National. Back to form under the handicapper’s radar with success in a hurdle race at Punchestown in December. Only seven years old.
1️⃣5️⃣6️⃣ Definitly Red 11-10-10 (Brian Ellison) Pulled up 2017 but fourth returned to the big fences for the Becher Chase in December and a winner at Kelso the last day with first-time cheekpieces.
1️⃣5️⃣3️⃣ Pleasant Company 12-10-7 (Willie Mullins): Like Tiger Roll and Anibale Fly, he’s been given a National rating for the race not his running-handicap figure of 150. Close fourth four out when unseated rider last year but Tiger Roll all out to beat him a head in 2018 and he is pleasantly 15lb better off!
1️⃣5️⃣1️⃣ Any Second Now 8-10-6 (Ted Walsh) Broke sequence of nine defeats by winning the 2019 Kim Muir, but fell as one of the favourites for the Irish Grand National. Badly hampered, unseated when looked likely placed in the big Leopardstown chase over Christmas.
1️⃣5️⃣1️⃣ Potters Corner 10-10-6 (Christian Williams) Form 110011, still standing, and hiked 16lb since the start of the sequence after winning the Welsh Grand National on heavy ground, with Elegant Escape well beaten.
1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣ Walk In The Mill 10-10-4 (Robert Walford): Up 6lb on last year and only 5lb better with Tiger Roll, trying to turn around a 16-lengths defeat in fourth. Improvement needed, but landed Becher Chase double over the big fences in December, beating young pretender Kimberlite Candy.
1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣ Kimberlite Candy 8-10-4 (Tom Lacey) had The Conditional more than 21 lengths back in fourth in the Warwick Classic, and split Walk In The Mill and Alpha Des Obeaux in the Becher Chase over the big National fences.
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