DAQMAN BAGS TWO NATIONAL WINNERS IN FIVE DAYS: Daqman, who picked Sunday’s Sussex National winner, Christmas In April (WON 9-2), promised a second National success this week and, sure enough, was on Little Bruce (WON 15-8) in the North Yorkshire National at Catterick yesterday under the emphatic headline: ‘Bruce stays and fits the stats.’
POWER TO THE NAPS! THEY’RE ON THREE FROM FOUR: Daqman’s naps are three from four, with yesterday’s in front a stride or two from the line. He fancies Fox Power at Lingfield today. Headlines:
🔹 BIG BENBATL STILL A GLOBAL STAR
🔹 STORY WITH THE HAPPY ENDING
🔹 FOX HAS THE CLASS AND POWER
🔹 HOPING TO SEE ESPOIR IMPROVE
BIG BENBATL STILL A GLOBAL STAR
⚠️ HEADS UP: Benbatl easily won the Singspiel Stakes for Godolphin at Meydan yesterday, the same race he won last year, taking his earnings well over the £4m mark.
He’s won at Royal Ascot, Munich and Caulfield in his globetrotting among nine career victories over 7f, 1m, 1m 1f and 1m 2f.
⚠️ HEADS UP: Cheltenham entries for the following Fortune Cookies immediately attracted money this week, among them Easywork who is the likely favourite at Punchestown on Sunday for the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.
Cyrname Champion Chase
Delta Work Ryanair Chase
Easywork Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Elimay Mares Hurdle
Epitante Champion Hurdle
Notebook Arkle Trophy
Thyme Hill Albert Bartlett
⚠️ HEADS UP: Ladbrokes sponsor six consecutive races at Punchestown on Monday. The final event on a seven-race card, the mares bumper, was won first time out by Willie Mullins’ Relegate, who went on to take the 2018 Cheltenham Champion Bumper.
Mullins has left four in for Monday but arch-rival Gordon Elliott runs Points winner Queens Brook, half-sister to Shotgun Paddy, who won a bumper but excelled in stamina tests up to 4m.
⚠️ HEADS UP: Shotgun Paddy won the 2014 Warwick Classic, which is tomorrow’s feature on the Midlands track, with Colin Tizzard’s Darlac, running beyond 3m for the first time, the one for the money so far.
⚠️ HEADS UP: Donnacha O’Brien, twice champion jockey before hanging up his boots aged 21, saddles his first runners as a trainer at Dundalk tonight.
STORY WITH THE HAPPY ENDING
12.25 Huntingdon Even at class-3 level, the form you have to rely on makes you wince sometimes. For instance, top-weighted Imperial Aura’s last two runs finished as: ‘eight-lengths last of two’ and ‘finished alone’, yet he’s odds on this morning.
Before Midnight had wind surgery prior to being sixth of seven on his return at Leicester last month; he’s had two more breathing ops since.
Stablemate Dream Du Grand Val is a kinky type, more than once showing a wayward side (hurdles highlight was in first-time hood), and may or may not take to fences.
On The Slopes has been placed in four starts out of five but has had a similar rating – hurdles and chases – for almost a year now.
Big Chief Benny goes back to smart staying chasers on the dam’s side, and he’s been given a helping hand by the handicapper here, 10lb below his winning hurdles form on this steeplechase debut.
Westend Story’s story is a tale of pelvic problems and long breaks, unable to keep him right for more than two or three races at a time.
Significantly, he’s run well when the money is down, his form when first or second favourite reducing to 11324121, still standing. Led for a long way in a class 2 at Newbury in November, and down in trip today.
I decided I’d rather take 6.7 Westend Story than evens Imperial Aura in the BETDAQ orange this morning, knowing I was in a value-betting area, with the overround only 104%.
FOX HAS THE CLASS AND POWER
1.10 Lingfield Class 2 over 7f, so we should find a quality punt but the BETDAQ ‘Back All’ had me boggling at consecutive offers down the card of 4.0, 4.2, 4.4 and 4.6 the four fancied horses. Where’s the edge?
Fox Power ran well on his return recently after winning a Listed at Newcastle in April, hiking him a total of 19lb above his previous win at Wolverhampton.
Mohareb did well late last year, with two wins in November and December driving his rating up 11lb, and he has to raise his game two grades from class 4. He’s a pound wrong, with his mark due to go up 4lb but running here with a 5lb penalty.
Power Link is another who’s done well on different AW surfaces, a solid class-3 performer (scoring 3-5)
Reeves’ autumn hat-trick, the last two wins in class 2, has him up 13lb but with 3lb of that claimed by Sean Davis, who fooled the field at Wolverhampton on the last day with some easy fractions when dropped to 6f.
I went for Fox Power, who’s won at a higher level and who only relinquished his lead late on at Chelmsford a month back, and is dropping down a furlong here. Out of the first four only once in his career.
HOPING TO SEE ESPOIR IMPROVE
2.00 Sedgefield More hard work for you here, on a day when you either pinstick the dross at a lower level or find an edge to a close-call contest (BETDAQ Back All for this one reads 4.2, 4.5, 5.2 and 5.5, as I write).
Instant Replay had 1121 returns at Sedgefield up to a year ago but has found it tougher to carry a few more pounds here since then (second twice in the autumn).
Espoir De Loire was an improver over hurdles and made a successful transition to fences on the last day, despite being clearly uncomfortable on a right-handed track.
Flowery is 2-2 over fences but has shot up 19lb. Overall he’s 4-5 but that spree started a year or so ago and he hasn’t been seen for 287 days. I’m not tempted, with the stable out of form.
Protek Des Flos has tried chasing twice before but reverted to hurdles. The Paddy Pie can’t be ruled out, now that Sue Smith is back in better form. If in doubt go for the young improver: that would have to be Espoir De Loire.
12.25 Huntingdon (win 10)
BET 1.8pts win WESTEND STORY
1.10 Lingfield (win 10)
BET 2.75pts win (nap) FOX POWER
2.00 Sedgefield (win 10)
BET 2.75pts win ESPOIR DE LOIRE
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