TWO WINNING NAPS OUT OF THREE FOR DAQMAN: It’s sweet September so far for the naps. Daqman landed his second best bet in three days when Lights On (WON 6-5) followed Ayr Poet (WON 11-10) on Tuesday. Today he looks at the prep races for the Arc and checks out the afternoon card at Ascot.
🗓️ Tomorrow: the Saturday Show, pick of seven meetings in England and Ireland, with Daqman leading Pricewise 32-16.
🗓️ Next week: Countdown to Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh
ALL ROADS LEADING TO THE ARC
The long goodbye begins. Tomorrow is Enable’s last race in England as a prep for her ultimate finale, the Arc De Triomphe at Longchamp one month and one day forward.
She could meet a Gold Cup star and a runaway Derby winner in Paris but that depends on their own final exams. Here’s how they prepare for the showdown of 2020..
Enable September Stakes, Kempton, tomorrow
Alpine Star, Ghaiyyath, Magical Irish Champions Weekend, September 12 & 13, Leopardstown and the Curragh.
Serpentine Grand Prix de Paris, September 13, Longchamp
Stradivarius Prix Foy, September 13, Longchamp
🗓️ Tomorrow: the £10million mare
ENABLE BATON PASSES TO DERAB
⭕ 3.05 Ascot The Khalid Abdulla colours of the mighty mare Enable will today be carried by her half-brother Derab.
Drawn wide and just now beginning to show promise to the watchful eyes of trainer John Gosden, the son of Sea The Stars is out of Concentric, the same Sadlers Wells mare as Enable.
My man in the long grass says that, whatever happens today, the plan is to try to win at one of the October Newmarket meetings and pass the Enable baton to him after she has won the Arc and retired. No pressure, then!
STOUTE HOPING FOR LAST LAAFY
⭕ 3.40 Ascot Sir Michael Stoute has a reputation for reforming horses and improving them at an age when others have peaked. I mean the horses not Sir Michael.
But at age 75 next month – Sir Michael not the horses – there must be times when the trainer himself feels piqued with frustration at the quirky animals in his care.
Before yesterday’s success for Lights On, she tried hard not to go into the stalls and, when she got to the front, swished her tail and tried to resist as she had done at Leicester.
But she showed real class to go a length and a half and 13 lengths clear, having also finished well ahead of the third when she went after Stunning Beauty, that one living up to her name at Leicester.
Now here’s Laafy. Beaten favourite in three of his last four races, he’s obviously far better at home than on the racecourse.
But among those races he managed to score at Newbury over 1m 4f, not favourite – presumably judged on his previous success over 1m 6f on heavy ground.
Oddly again, he was favourite for that race, with only a 1m 2f win on firm to go on. Curiouser and curiouser.
Yet the handicapper’s overall view of his last 10 starts is to raise him a total of 18lb. Application of the visor last six races, and gelding before the last three, give us some clues to the improvement wrought by Stoute.
Laafy is just a couple of pounds superior to Look Closely but has to give a stone and a half to the three-year-old Labeebb.
Look Closely has won three out of six races on a firm surface, and Labeebb’s two successes have come in lower grades, both on firm, but neither one can have excuses if today’s forecast is realised: drying ground, starting on the easy side of good. On all known form, Natty Night will make sure there is no dawdling.
I keep expecting octogenarian David Elsworth to hit form. He’s had only three winners the whole year, but I remember Dash Of Spice going clear off today’s mark over the CD at Royal Ascot 2018. Missed last year after gelding op but back on the trail of big handicaps now.
It also makes me think: are Stoute and Elsworth playing old hands from an ancient pack, and shouldn’t I be looking at the young bloods capable of turning up trumps? So I had a pound on Labeeb.
ZEEBAND SEEMS PROGRESSIVE
⭕ 4.00 Thirsk (Hambleton Cup) Zeeband comfortably beat Akamanto at Ripon over further, only greenness spoiling his finish.
The one for the money has been Ispahan after a promising debut for a yard which is 50% at Thirsk but, for me, makes a price (around 2-1) for Zeeband.
Zeeband has improved race on race and is reckoned by Roger Varian a possible Cesarewitch horse, certainly one to progress as a young stayer.
⭕ 4.15 Ascot Three-year-olds win this three times out of four, and have a strong contender at the front of the market today.
Back-to-back mile winner Al Salt was a bit unlucky when stepped up to 1m 2f Goodwood, squeezed for room, as can so easily happen on that course.
Grove Ferry has been easy to back and taken two breaks since being gelded, so I’d rather see him run again before risking him.
Marronier was badly hampered the last day but, if you’re looking for a second pitch in this race, Nicklaus (7.3 BETDAQ) has to be backed, because he’s from the same stable as Al Salt, 3.25.
GIN TONIC 7.5 OFFER ON BETDAQ
⭕ 4.50 Ascot Afaak has lived off his 2018 Royal Hunt Cup win, his sole success in two years, but was made favourite at Newbury the last day after being helped to third in the Goodwood Golden Mile by first-time blinkers.
He finished well behind Tempus at Newbury and the blinkers have been dropped. Tempus is also suspect: he’s needed three long breaks in a five-race career over 22 months, though has achieved three wins from four starts.
Walhaan has started at enormous prices since moving to Ian Williams from France and his second here at Ascot in July may have been a flash in the pan.
Cap Francais returned to form here at Ascot the last day but is high in the handicap. Blown By Wind has not won beyond 7f and Mon Choix failed to make a leap of three grades at York from his Sandown success.
Gin Palace is consistently reliable and goes with the pace, which is helpful at Ascot and on a surface the easy side of good. Looks well placed in the handicap.
3.40 Ascot (win 10 each)
BET 3pts win LABEEB
BET 2.5pts win LAAFY
4.00 Thirsk (win 20 nap)
BET 10pts win ZEEBAND
4.15 Ascot (win 10 each)
BET 4.5pts win AL SALT
BET 1.5pts win NICKLAUS
4.50 Ascot (win 20)
BET 3pts win GIN PALACE
What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro.. Or just 10p to win!
Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.
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