9-2 NAP! WHAT A WAY TO GET SEVEN OUT OF EIGHT: Daqman’s nap won yet again yesterday, but this was a nap with a difference: the best price of them all at 9-2, as he made it seven out of eight. The winner, Mountain Range, got up in the final strides at Sandown.
IN FACT, IT’S NINE OUT OF 11, OR 10 IN THE LAST FORTNIGHT: In the last 14 days of Daqman naps, his results have been: 12011211110111. Here are the most recent 11:
* Monday: SHAMDARLEY (WON 2-1)
* Tuesday: MOJOLIKA (WON 7-4)
* Wednesday: Hel’s Angel (2nd 5-4)
* Thursday: HUNTER’S LIGHT (WON 2-1)
* Friday: VITAL GOLD (WON 2-1)
* Saturday: HEAVENLY DAWN (WON 6-5)
* Sunday: SHORT TAKES (WON 15-8)
* Monday: Switchback (unplaced 5-1)
* Tuesday: COMMANCHE (WON 5-4)
* Wednesday: GOLD MINE (WON 13-8)
* Thursday: MOUNTAIN RANGE (WON 9-2)
PROFIT OF 172 POINTS: The amazing naps sequence, which contains a triple hat-trick, shows a profit of 172 points to 10-point level stakes. Now here is today’s analysis, with the nap at the foot of the column.
2.45 Ascot: I took a bit of 8.8 Police Force (bred to be a top-class sprinter), on the grounds that Frankie Dettori detours South for the one ride before going to York for Sajjhaa (7.30), where one of his front-running rides is expected.
Sajjhaa would have been my nap of the day but for persistent whispers that Contredanse, also a front-runner, has been working the house down in visors at home.
3.20 Ascot: Three-year-olds win this every year when they turn out. I say that because the only year an older horse won in the last decade just one second-season animal lined up.
The best of the older horses, Soorah, is up 17lb for placed efforts, including a neck second over CD to a subsequent Listed winner but those behind were moderate.
Emma’s Gift has already been found wanting in two Group-3s and four Listed events (in one, she was a nose behind Primavere), always finishing out of the frame, albeit sometimes within a few lengths of some very good animals (Theyskens’ Theory, Memory).
Primavere has been in the first four in three consecutive Listed races, including fourth in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket in the Spring when Oaks placed Izzi Top was third. She races as though she needs further; whether soft ground will bring out her stamina is debatable on the breeding.
Kieren Fallon gets his chance to prove that Imaginary World is not the bridesmaid her form figures suggest, and she ran better last time out, though she has needed cheekpieces, then eye-shields and blinkers to (officially) progress no more than 3lb in 13 races.
Winter’s Night likes Ascot (form figures here 113 in a short career) and, as a daughter of Night Shift, won’t mind any more rain. She probably has the edge.
3.55 Ascot: Three-year-olds have a massive record in this, producing form figures in the last decade of 1313114 from only nine runners, one of the winners trained by Mark Johnston.
So it is that the grey Colour Vision immediately catches the eye, running a day inside the grace-and-favour handicapping period before being hiked 13lb, just 6lb of which applies as an advanced penalty here. The way he’s riding, Silvestre De Sousa is almost worth that much!
Snags: Colour Vision’s worst form is on soft going (0000), alongside form figures on good or firmer of 103011. However, the ground is no problem on breeding – ‘he should love it,’ says the trainer – and the profile of a nine-race unexposed horse can be misleading.
He’s also raised two grades here and, when Johnston won this with a three-year-old in 2003, it was a class-4 race, raised to class-2 in 2006 for the opening of the new Ascot.
But Colour Vision’s 10-lengths romp at Haydock suggests he’s well up to this level in a race in which, if we didn’t have Dayia and Downhiller, you’d think this was still a class-4 handicap, masquerading as class-2.
Dayia has won a class-2 (on good to soft) and a Listed (on heavy), and has been fourth in the Ascot Stakes at the royal meeting, where she again ran strongly this year when filling the same position in the Queen Alexandra.
Downhiller’s yard won for me over a distance yesterday, and this one goes well fresh (won on soft after six months off) and his career best run was a head defeat in the Gordon Carter Stakes of 2008.
Alazan, Mountain Hiker and Very Good Day are Ebor entries but have not won higher than class-4 and are giving weight away, while Keys is another trying to outwit the handicapper: he carries a 6lb penalty but is due to go up a total of 16lb for Saturday’s easy Newbury success.
Keys is red-hot even-money favourite, as I write, which means I can get around 3-1 Colour Vision, with nothing else backed. I must grab that 3-1 in a seeming two-horse race, with the stats on my side. Nap.
4.30 Ascot: Mark Johnston’s won this twice with a three-year-old (same class as today this time), and again has the only second-season animal in the race, Oceanway. But Mark’s also had the runner-up in the race for the last three years.
Point North will like the ground and was not disgraced in the Royal Hunt Cup, but there’s not much between Suits Me, Dhaamer and Tinshu on collateral form.
The soft-ground outsider (by Pivotal out of a Sadlers Wells mare) is Pipette, 19.0 this morning, from a stable in form; if she could show half the potential of her Oaks trial second to Snow Fairy in the Spring of 2010, she would nearly win this. Today is her first run back on soft since the 1,000 Guineas of that year. Each way.
BET 2.5pts win and place POLICE FORCE
BET 10pts win WINTER’S NIGHT (3.20 Ascot)
BET 6.6pts win (nap) COLOUR VISION (3.55 Ascot)
BET 1.1pts win and place PIPETTE (4.30 Ascot)