ROYAL ASCOT TOMORROW AND DAQMAN SETS THE SCENE: Daqman today focuses on the talking points of Royal Ascot: Frankel, the clash of Canford Cliffs and Goldikova, top trainer and jockey, and the value betting bonus which is Betdaq.
DAQ TREBLES TO WIN HIS BETTING MONEY: His selections are at the foot of the column as usual, mixed trebles on Daq Multiples to pay for his jackpots at Ascot. But, as ever, he goes for an insurance lay at Carlisle to cover the stake.
SHOCK NAP AT WINDSOR: Mark the date, June 13th, when Daqman naps a horse that’s never raced. It’s running tonight at Windsor.
THE HISTORY: Star you’ll never see: Ascot doesn’t have the Derby or the Arc but is a world stage with nine Group-1 races, still the biggest Flat-racing festival in Europe.
Though stayers are so out of fashion as to diminish the St Leger and demote the once cherished Triple Crown, which culminated in that 14-furlong race, the Ascot Gold Cup (20 furlongs) remains on a pinnacle.
Its continued success is largely due to its domination by great horses like Sagaro (three times), Le Moss (twice), Ardross (twice), Double Trigger and four-time-winner Yeats.
Yeats was handled by Aidan O’Brien, the Ballydoyle trainer backed by the Coolmore organization, but the Ballydoyle-Coolmore horse that will go down in history is Galileo, the star you’ll never see again, yet who now dominates racing at the highest level.
Galileo was the sire of New Approach, Soldier Of Fortune, Rip Van Winkle, Red Rocks, Cape Blanco, Teofilo and Lush Lashes. Galileo is the sire of Frankel, Golden Lilac and Galikova, the one-two in yesterday’s French Oaks..
The Galileo line maintains our world dominance, achieved through the Derby. In fact, this great stallion stands in Ireland and was trained there, also by Aidan O’Brien, but we are glad to say ‘our’. Just as we were glad of Vincent O’Brien’s domination through the Nearco stallion, Northern Dancer. That’s where it all began.
What you have in Galileo is the culmination of a great breeding strategy. Northern Dancer was the 20th century’s best sire of sires, among them Nijinsky, the last Triple Crown winner, but most potently Sadlers Wells. Galileo is by Sadlers Wells out of Arc de Triomphe winning mare Urban Sea. His reign has just begun. Northern Dancer’s reign will never end.
THE HORSE: Frankel the freak: Frankel is a horse to test the imagination but also the nerves, his and ours. His rocket romp in the 2,000 Guineas was more reminiscent of a quarterhorse but lasted out the Nemarket mile in a manner not seen since Tudor Minstrel (1947) won by eight lengths under Sir Gordon Richards.
With Tudor Minstrel, a Derby flop, in mind, racing’s new knight, Sir Henry Cecil – there’s been only Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Mark Prescott since Gordon – swerved Epsom and set him on a blazing trail which includes tomorrow’s St James’s Palace Stakes.
But he noticeably had nerves at Newmarket. Will the cork come out of the bottle the same way twice? So many such horses boil over and beat themselves.
THE DUEL: Match of the century: Ascot racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 and overshadowing Frankel the freak’s race tomorrow is the Queen Anne Stakes, which opens the meeting.
It’s the mile match of the century without Frankel, featuring home hope Canford Cliffs (Richard Hannon) and the French Group-record holder, Goldikova.
Canford Cliffs last year won the very race, the St James’s Palace, which will now define Frankel: he went on to take the Sussex Stakes and has started this season by winning the Lockinge.
But he’s had only nine races in his life, still a baby alongside the mare Goldikova’s mature six years. She’s raced for four of them and been out of the frame only once in 22 attempts with 16 wins, three seconds and two thirds, including 13 Group-1s, the only European horse to have won more than 10 Group-1s since their introduction 40 years ago.
Trainer Freddie Head describes the diamond mare’s complete facets: ‘She is quite unreal. She has everything an athlete can have. Tremendous nerves, very cool, great speed; she can always change gear; she is a great fighter.’
THE TRAINER: Genius of Fabre: But Head and shoulders above French trainers is Andre Fabre, who has taken this year’s Epsom Derby with Pour Moi and yesterday won the French Oaks with his Longchamp 1,000 Guineas winner, Golden Lilac, among a five-timer at Chantilly.
Fabre, who runs Announce in today’s La Coupe at Longchamp, saddles only Brigantin at the royal meeting this week in the Ascot Gold Cup.
Last season, Richard Hannon and Aidan O’Brien were tied on three wins each for the trainer’s title at Royal Ascot. Since 2003, O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute have had 20 winners each.
Mark Johnston has had most runners in that time for 18 winners. Saeed Bin Suroor is on 12 and Hannon has had 11.
THE JOCKEY: Fallible Fallon: Ryan Moore snatched the prize for leading rider at Royal Ascot in 2010 in the very last race of the meeting but Johnny Murtagh is the top jockey since 2003 with 22 winners.
Frankie Dettori has 16, Richard Hughes and Jamie Spencer 15 each, and Jimmy Fortune has 11, tied with former champion Kieren Fallon.
Fallon is the enigma of modern jockeys, courting controversy, which raged again at the Derby meeting when the Appeal Court banned him from riding in the race after he switched mounts. Now Fallon reveals that he also ‘got off’ the 20-1 Oaks winner, Dancing Rain. Fallible or what!
Fallon has booked rides every day at Ascot, rating Start Right his best chance in the Royal Hunt Cup for Luca Cumani. But Cumani, too, is fallible with a poor record at the royal meeting.
Ryan Moore’s most obvious winner this week is So You Think in Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. He is odds on with bookmaker and exchange.
THE BETTING: Betdaq for value: So your job as a punter is to get a bigger price in the bag on the opening day. If Olivier Peslier (Goldikova) wins, it won’t make much difference to the jockeys’ title betting, since he’s not likely to have enough ammunition in the rest of the week.
But, if Richard Hughes wins on Canford Cliffs – Hughes is 8.6 on Betdaq this morning – his odds will shorten immediately, particularly with his next big ride, Dubawi Gold, intent on stopping Frankel.
Don’t miss the value. It’s my target all week. Follow me every day on Betdaq Extra, where I will analyse every Royal Ascot race. It’s free.
LAY to win 10pts KEYHOLE KATE and 1.4pts win and place FLIRTY GERTY (1.45 Carlisle)
BET 7.4pts win PROVOST (5.00 Sedgefield)
BET 8.5pts win (nap) JUNE THIRTEEN (6.30 Windsor)
BET 8pts win MA QUILLET (7.10 Warwick)
BET 1.2pts win and place DUSTER (8.10 Warwick)
BET 5.2pts win WAAHEJ (8.40 Warwick)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 10 x 1pt win trebles Provost (5.00 Sedgefield), June Thirteen (6.30 Windsor), Ma Quillet (7.10 Warwick), Timepiece (7.40 Warwick) and Waahej (8.40 Warwick)