12-1 BETDAQ WINNER AS DAQMAN UPHOLDS THE LAW: It’s worth reading the small print when Daqman does a deal on BETDAQ morning offers. For instance, Daqman argued why Draconien (2nd 4-5) should be odds-on favourite at Clonmel yesterday when Beyond The Law (WON 7-1 from 13.0) was in front of him ‘strictly on the book’.

7-1 AND 6-1 AFTER 50-POINT WEDNESDAY BULL’S-EYE: It followed a 50-point hit in England on Wednesday, an AW bull’s-eye bet on Sovereign Duke (WON 9-2), and Daqman added another big-value scorer yesterday, with Mr Antolini (WON 6-1). That’s 90 points profit from just three races:

WON 7-1 BEYOND THE LAW (Thursday from 13.0 on BETDAQ)
WON 6-1 MR ANTOLINI (Thursday from 7.4 on BETDAQ)
WON 9-2 SOVEREIGN DUKE (50 win, Wednesday, 6.4 BETDAQ)


Heh, he’s mine! From the ridiculous – his Finian’s Oscar tip for the Stayers Hurdle – to the not-so-sublime steal. Pricewise has made Anibale Fly his Gold Cup outsider.

But this column made a killing from Anibale Fly (WON 14-1) when he came to prominence in the big race at Leopardstown the day after Boxing Day. I’m no after-timer.

And, as on that day at Leopardstown when he was a 19.5 offer, Anibale Fly is as big, if not bigger, for gold with BETDAQ this morning: 26.0.

‘He’s an old-fashioned staying horse; he jumped and galloped,’ said Tony Martin of the big-chase success for J P McManus off 148.

That sounds like we need unusually soft ground for Cheltenham if Anibale is to fly in off his new mark of 159, which is 10-11lb below Might Bite and Sizing John.

But he’s certainly closing down my own nominated outsider for the Cup, Blaklion (161 after his Becher success in early December). The pair are both coming to peak as chasers, Anibale Fly aged eight, Blaklion nine.

Eight of the last 10 Gold Cup winners have been eight or nine (four wins each), the most recent pair of Cheltenham heroes scoring off official ratings of 166 and 167.

SEE HOW THEY WON: More Daqman statistics and insight on the big races at Cheltenham in this column soon.


12.50 Lingfield A colt that’s had three races, finishing ninth (twice) and tenth at 50-1, 66-1 and 125-1, was punted in from 10-1 to 7-2 last night.

It is Vice Marshall’s first handicap. That’s really all there is to say about him. Though still favourite, or nearly so, with bookmakers, he was easy to back this morning, at 6.0, on BETDAQ.

The new exchange-market leader was Freebe Rocks for Michael Bell, who seems to be saying, with first-time visor, that the recent gelding operation didn’t work well enough at Wolverhampton.

Imperial Red (BETDAQ 6.4), first-time blinkered for William Haggas, who has better than a one-in-three strike rate on the course, may be the answer on a day of modest racing (so no heroics from me until tomorrow).

2.20 Lingfield At least we have a class-2 handicap at Lingfield. It should go to a young horse, and it provides an ideal opportunity for Mystique Moon (3.25 as I write), with trainer Charlie Appleby currently striking at 60%. Should be sharper for a recent run.

3.20 Lingfield James Fanshawe had a winner at Kempton on Saturday and Envisaging has Adam Kirby booked to continue his good run since dropping down to 6f.

Envisaging (5.4 offers) clearly needs a strong-run affair at this trip and, with Nautical Haven, Karjini and Volatile all pace horses, he should get it.


3.00 Huntingdon Philip Hobbs is back to form with four winners in the new year. I remember Hobbsy and Alan King having a brilliant autumn, then suddenly hitting the buffers about the same time in November.

Kingy was stunned when Yanworth ‘got beat’, a few days before the Hobbs’ Triumph Hurdle hope, Gumball, was slammed 17 lengths by Apple’s Shakira in the Triumph Trial at Cheltenham.

Remember it all now? Well, Yanworth is tipped – as was Finian’s Oscar earlier in the week – to go back to hurdles.

And, after 55 days holiday, Gumball returns today to try to prove that Cheltenham result all wrong.

In one sense, connections will be pleased to see that Apple’s Shakira has won again since – unextended – and that he’s kept favouritism for the Triumph but they swerve a better race at Kempton on Saturday for this one, not least because Gumball would have been giving 6lb and 12lb to most of the field.

But the Apple’s Shakira yard of Nicky Henderson, who won this race last year with the subsequent Fred Winter runner-up, seems to be waiting to pounce again.

Henderson has first and second favourites for the Triumph. If he beats Gumball here with Style De Garda, he could be heading for another Triumph 1-2-3, which he achieved in 2015.

Hobbs, who has won three Triumphs, including last year’s, reckons Gumball might be suited to today’s flatter track, so Aintree is likely to be the target not Cheltenham.

Style De Garda’s killing field was Newbury. He ran away from a small field but it was the way he did it. ‘Impressive and so exciting,’ was connections response. Supernap.

BET 3.75pts win IMPERIAL RED (12.50 Lingfield)
BET 8.75pts win MYSTIQUE MOON (2.20 Lingfield)
SUPERNAP: BET 20pts win STYLE DE GARDE (3.00 Huntingdon)
BET 4.5pts win ENVISAGING (3.20 Lingfield)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 4 x 1pt win trebles and 1pt win acca the four above

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