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THE CHASE IS ON FOR THE GRAND NATIONAL WINNER: Daqman’s five-out-of-six naps sequence failed to get one more out of the hat when Magic Of Light let him down at Punchestown yesterday. Today he looks forward to a week of long-distance races which could have a bearing on the Grand National: the Punchestown Grand National Trial, the Devon National and the Eider Chase.

CARLISLE NAP: Three bets start the week all aiming to win 10 points. DAQMAN’s NAP is a handicap debutant at Carlisle.


THE WEEK OF TRIPLE MARATHONS

⚠️ HEAD’S UP (marathon 1) Third time lucky? The Punchestown Grand National Trial – ‘lost’ twice to the weather already – makes a third and final attempt to get off the ground tomorrow. Look out for Daqman’s analysis, horse by horse, with a win-50 bull’s-eye bet.

Previous winners Ballyboker Bridge (2016-17) and Josies Orders (last year) are due to clash in the banks race, which opens the Punchestown meeting. Hurricane Darwin, the 2019 runner-up to Josies Orders, is due for a rematch on better terms.

⚠️ HEAD’S UP (marathon 2) On Friday, Exeter, which also lost its last day, hopes to run the Devon National, with Dawson City bidding for a hat-trick in the race.

He’s won it off 127 and 131, which is his weight again this time. That means he gives an extra pound to last year’s runner-up, Dancing Shadow, but that shouldn’t worry him, as he was six lengths clear that day.

I expected a more likely threat to be Cobolobo, who was making smooth progress when blundering badly and unseating at the 16th. But he’s won since at Haydock, so has got the wrong side of the handicapper.

⚠️ HEAD’S UP (marathon 3) Saturday’s Eider Chase has produced only one recent Grand National winner that i can recall: Comply or Die (2008).

But it used to be a solid stepping-stone, producing Highland Wedding to win at Aintree in the Sixties, and before that National placed horses in Wyndburgh and Gentle Moya, theis trio together taking the Eider six times.

Crosspark is among the probables again, 7lb higher than when he won the race last year and now on the same mark that afterwards saw him second to Takingrisks in the Scottish Grand national.

⚠️ HEADS UP (the week’s staking key) bronze – to win 10 points; silver – to win 20; gold – to win 30 or even 50, which is a bull’s-eye bet.

Today, bronze; tomorrow at Punchestown, potential for a bull’s-eye bet, and silver possible on the second day at Punchestown on Wednesday; Thursday, back to bronze; Friday, a silver or gold punt in the Devon National; and Saturday, high stakes likely again in the Eider Chase, Winter Derby and big three-mile handicap at Kempton.


BALLYDONAGH THE BOY AT CARLISLE

3.55 Carlisle Mainly class 5 and 6 fare across Monday’s three cards with the exception being this class 3 handicap hurdle which looks competitive enough despite only five going to post.

Captain Zebo is a credit to trainer John Dixon. He moved from Mouse Morris to Gordon Elliott in Ireland (although never ran for Elliott) but seems to have found a new lease of life for Dixon and was unbeaten in three starts last season.

The first of those came after a break of 177 days – so today’s longer break isn’t a negative and may even turn into a positive.

He likes the ground and I think could take a lot of beating on his handicap debut. Pogue, the horse he beat by 27 lengths when winning at Carlisle on his latest start, has won since.

Current BETDAQ favourite is Teescomponents Lad who won this race last year when the ground wasn’t so testing but he also has winning form on soft and heavy.

He comes into this after a smooth win at Catterick and clearly has a big chance again but I think Captain Zebo has the greater scope.

5.00 Carlisle Ballydonagh Boy has been knocking on the door in better class races than this and looks a solid bet for the Henry Brooke / Pauline Robson combo.

The handicapper has kept him on the same mark after a good third on his handicap debut at Newcastle last month when a close up third to Kauto D’Amour.

He was doing his best work in the closing stages that day and should appreciate both the longer trip and stiffer circuit in Cumbria.

Bingo D’Olivate is a close rival in the betting but is an expensive horse to follow and has been beaten the last three times he has started favourite.

That said, he looks the one to chase home the nap after a staying on third at Uttoxeter last time out.

8.30 Kempton Snow Leopard can take the nightcap.

The grey put in what looked a career best over course and distance last time out when fourth to Mistress Nellie and is actually a 1lb lower tonight !!

Add to that, winning machine Ben Curtis rides for the first time and he appeals more than current favourite Ember’s Glow who just looks in the grip of the handicapper. There were no excuses for his defeat at Wolverhampton last time out when going off favourite.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 10 points each)
BET 3.3pts win CAPTAIN ZEBO (3.55 Carlisle)
BET 5.3pts win (nap) BALLYDONAGH BOY (5.00 Carlisle)
BET 3.4pts win SNOW LEOPARD (8.30 Kempton)


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