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PERFECT DAY FOR ANOTHER DAQMAN OAKS COUP: 18.0: Daqman won the 2017 Oaks with a 25-1 ante-post bet on Enable (WON 6-1). He has the ‘overs’ again today on Perfect Clarity at 18.0, giving this column more than 10 points to play with for laying off or betting on something else in the race.

BUT IS IT A CLASSIC BYE BYE BECAUSE OF SOFT GOING: But will the perfect day be spoiled by the rain? Is it bye bye to the favourites? Daqman checks out his ‘Fake News’ list of negatives, flags up the handicapper’s choice, then gives his verdict, based partly on Wednesday’s Oaks ABC guide (see Daqman Archive).

VALUE BETS IN THE COLUMN ARE 110 POINTS AHEAD: As Derby weekend kicks off at Epsom, Daqman leads Pricewise of the Racing Post 28-8 for big-race value winners, giving him a 110 point lead (+34 Daqman -76 Pricewise) to one-point level-stakes.

AWESOME DOUBLE POURS 32 POINTS INTO THE TANK: What better way to fill the bank for Epsom with two winners out of three yesterday. At perfect prices for 32 points profit on the day!



Classic form: FOLLOW GUINEAS FORM. Not true. It’s 23 years since a filly placed second or third in the 1,000 Guineas has won the Oaks.

Draw: Not relevant today. Nullified by the small field

Experience: YOU MUST HAVE IT. Not true normally. Seven fillies in the decade had only two or three starts. But maybe today – like the three winners who’d had seven previous races – experience will help in the mud.

Favourites: THEY ALWAYS WIN. Not true. Only two have scored in the decade. Five winners have been 20-1 (three times), 33-1 and 50-1.

Soft ground: Winners on soft running today: Bye Bye Baby, Flattering, Wild Illusion.

Prices: THE VALUE HAS GONE. Not true. Incredibly, BETDAQ, was betting 99% underround as its ante-post list closed. Compare the overround in the orange today with the bookmakers’ Total SP on the Oaks of the last five years: 120, 124, 121, 118 and 120%.


* OFFICIAL RATINGS plus the early markets with bookies and BETDAQ.

113 Wild Illusion (generally 5-2 with bookies this morning, 3.6 on BETDAQ)
109 Bye Bye Baby (13-2 average with bookies, 8.2 BETDAQ offers)
104 Magic Wand (9-2 bookies, 6.2 BETDAQ)
101 I Can Fly (13-1 bookies, 19.0 BETDAQ)
100 Perfect Clarity (7-1 bookies, 8.8 BETDAQ)
099 Forever Together (11-2 bookies, 7.6 BETDAQ)
097 Give And Take (11-1 bookies, 16.0 BETDAQ)
095 Flattering (22-1 bookies, 27.0 BETDAQ)
087 Ejtyah (16-1 bookies, 21.0 BETDAQ)

* ABC GUIDE of Stats final verdict (see Wednesday’s column):

ABCDEX Magic Wand Galileo sister to an Irish Oaks winner.
ABCD Perfect Clarity By Nathaniel, the sire of Enable
ABDEX Forever Together One of five Ballydoyle fillies.


3.10 Cracksman, 4.30 Perfect Clarity


4.30. Epsom (the Oaks) Is it bye bye to top-of-the-ground horses? Rain has turned the Oaks into a stamina test, and one who has shown herself a galloper in the mud is Bye Bye Baby.

The Galileo filly out of an Oaks runner-up is closely related to Dylan Thomas, a family which improved for a trip.

She has eight-race experience which will count for more than usual today, and her form with ‘soft’ in the going return is 1131, not counting her seasonal debut.

She looked a relentless galloper in the Blue Wind trial, significantly extending her superiority in the final furlong of 1m 2f. The further they went, the further she won. The going? ‘Soft to heavy.’

And we have the collateral form provided by Magic Wand, another Galileo. This sister to an Irish Oaks winner is a big filly who improved to land the Cheshire Oaks.

But her April conqueror Jaega was well beaten by Bye Bye Baby in that Blue Wind at the Curragh.

Forever Together, another Ballydoyle filly, is also by Galileo but related to milers. However, she looked unlucky behind Magic Wand in the Cheshire Oaks.

It may be significant that stablemate I Can Fly, third to Who’s Steph in one of the Leopardstown Guineas trials on heavy, was well backed but down the field in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas on firm.

Wild Illusion’s form has to be taken on trust. Her success in the Marcel Boussac was a shock at 25-1 and she faded in the Guineas. But Laurens, runner-up at Newmarket, has boosted that Classic form.

VERDICT: Perfect Clarity, by Nathaniel, the sire who produced Enable, landed the Lingfield Oaks Trial off a slow pace, surging clear when the penny dropped and her stamina kicked in.

Obviously, back-to-back ante-post Oaks winners at 25-1 and 18.0 would be nice, but I need a pound on a soft-ground alternative and the collateral form suggests Bye Bye Baby (8.2 BETDAQ).

ORDER IN: 1 Perfect Clarity, 2 Bye Bye Baby, 3 Forever Together, 4 Wild Illusion


2.00 Epsom Team Hannon 3, Mark Johnston 3 in the decade. Today they go head to head, with Marie’s Diamond leading the market for Johnston at 4.3 on BETDAQ, as a winner on heavy ground at Leicester.

It’s The Only Way, for the Hannons, was only a nose behind Marie’s Diamond when fourth at Newbury but until today has been kept to a sound surface, and both he and Cotubanama (improved at home) have wide draws.

Usain Boat made all at Newmarket but has to get across from stall six. Mendoza’s sire gets soft-ground winners. True Belief has some quality about him but we don’t know about the ground.


2.35 Epsom Though older horses are only 1-10 in this, Donncha was backed overnight as a soft-ground winner though that success was way back in 2014.

Third in the 2017 Lincoln Handicap but only 11th this year, his last two runs were more promising and he’s down the handicap.

Masham Star is also down in the weights but his form on soft is 0003 and he was out of the frame at this meeting a year ago.

Medburn Dream (at 6.8 on BETDAQ as I write) is a soft-ground CD winner at Epsom, and the form of his all-the-way Windsor win has been boosted by the runner-up.

King’s Pavilion goes well on soft but is 12lb higher than on his last winning day, and AW winner (3-4) Able Jack switches to turf with 9lb more than his last success on grass.

High Acclaim won the Spring Mile on soft but has never managed to score this high in the ratings.


3.10 Epsom (Coronation Cup) Aidan O’Brien has won this eight times since 2005, notably with Yeats and St Nicholas Abbey and last year with Highland Reel, with today’s Ballydoyle runner, Idaho, out of the frame.

The best trial is the Sheema Classic, which has produced seven Coronation Cup winners in 13 seasons from its first three home, and has Hawkbill as its winning representative today.

But favourites have won seven of the last eight Cups and, as the official ratings have it, Cracksman is between 8lb and 11lb clear of the other main protagonists.

This would be a five-timer since his dual Derby placings at Epsom and the Curragh, having won the Great Voltigeur, Prix Niel, Champion Stakes at Newmarket and, in April on his reappearance, the Ganay. Acts on any going and looks invincible with stablemate Enable on the sidelines.


3.45 Epsom No So Sleepy, a dual winner on the soft, won this last year off the same mark as today and looks saved up for the double.

But the younger Ajman King won on heavy over the Epsom CD in October and has seemingly progressed since, taking the City And Suburban for a second CD success on his return in April.

On the face of it, Another Touch, third in the April race, is weighted to turn the tables but Ajman King won so comfortably that day.

Banditry seldom runs a bad race but that’s why he’s now on his highest mark.

Andrew Balding is striking form, and has Brorocco laid out for this after a cracking win at Newbury in the autumn, but he’s never been placed with the word ‘soft’ in the going return.

Epsom is a track where the obvious doesn’t always happen, so I’d rather have two running for me – Not So Sleepy (9.4 BETDAQ) and Another Touch (10.0) than take 7-4 or so the favourite.


2.00 Epsom (win 20)

2.35 Epsom (win 30)
BET 5pts win (nap) MEDBURN DREAM

3.45 Epsom (win 20 each)
BET 2.25pts win NOT SO SLEEPY
BET 2pts win and place ANOTHER TOUCH

4.30 Epsom (win 50 and win 30)
BULL’S-EYE BET (ante-post) 4pts win PERFECT CLARITY
BET 4pts win and place BYE BYE BABY

5.50 Epsom (win 20)
BET 1.5pts win and place (15.0 taken) SHARED EQUITY

8.15 Goodwood (win 20)
BET 5.5pts win (4.6 taken) PAST MASTER

8.50 Goodwood (win 20)
BET 2.5pts win and place (8.6 taken) WHY WE DREAM

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