RELUCTANT ‘HERO’ AT 37.0 FOR DAQMAN: Princely Hero (WON 11-2) was one of two Daqman winners at Southwell yesterday – the other was Hi Tide (WON 7-2) – but, though completing a hat-trick, the quirky ‘Hero’ gave supporters plenty to worry about when headed three out and was 37.0 in running at one stage.
AYR WEIGHTS MYSTERY: There’s always something different in Daqman, and today he measures the Ayr runners against a peculiar set of stats that have emerged in the last three years. Remember: Daqman bets to win 20 points on each selection unless otherwise stated.
Don’t look down! If you fancy something high in the handicaps at Ayr today, keep your nerve and resist the usual temptation to look down the card and think: something with a light weight is bound to catch me. The stats say it won’t.
Coincidentally, or as the best pointer of the day – which is it? – six consecutive races on last year’s card, starting at 2.30, were all won by horses carrying between 9st 4lb and 9st 11lb.
Moreover, in the 14 runnings of these races since they started – some two, some three years back – 12 have been won by horses with 9st 4lb or higher. Four consecutive races (3.00 to 4.30 inclusive) have all been won, absolutely no exceptions, by those high weights.
It suggests that 31 of the pack of 52 declared runners at Ayr today are a massive dummy hand; that it’s pontoons only, with just 21 runners that can win. I asked my anorak Bill: what does this mean?
Bill knows the answers to questions like: how many Australian horses are in the world top 10? Which jockey had Grand National form figures of FPFFU33PFC30F7 up to 2009? Who is sleeping with my Aunt Margery?
Bill knows them all (including Aunt Margery apparently) but he ducked this one so low that he got under the bottom rope. Then he delivered a quick one-two back in my face: ‘You are the one who’s always saying that horses below class 4 don’t keep their form.’ So?
‘Well, maybe the better bad horses keep their form better than the worst bad horses and get more weight to carry.’
While Bill rests quietly in a darkened room, learning how to text Aunt Margery, we’ll check out the races one by one. Can’t say we’ll come up with the answer. But we might find some winners in the process.
2.30 Ayr: This is Mango Music’s 50th start for eight wins worth only £38,000: who would be an owner? Timeless Elegance had back-to-back successes in the Spring of 2010 and has needed a year to get her rating down.
She was just becoming competitive again when a near miss at Catterick cost her a ratings rise, back to 8lb higher than her last success, but she has a top 5lb claimer aboard, did run well in class 4 last time out and is an Ayr CD winner.
Tro Nesa was dropped to class-6 last time, also after near misses (both at Ayr) but is 3lb higher than for her last success, which was also at Ayr. So a real Ayr specialist but lacking a bit of class.
Soft ground seems to be why front-runner Mother Jones scored last time and she won’t get that today. Eternal Instinct carries a penalty for a recent success, a win I would discount because it was an amateurs’ race and came after a two-year losing spell.
I see a fast pace from Mango Music and Mother Jones setting it up for Timeless Elegance, who should benefit from this step back up from the minimum.
3.00 Ayr: CD winners Arriva La Diva and Lees Anthem are both reunited with jockeys who have won on them. Ruth Carr (Chosen One) has hit form with six winners in the last fortnight.
It’s hard to look beyond this trio, with Dower Glen capable only of a plate win from 31 outings, and Glenlini absent nearly two years. If Dower Glen is giving weight, then the bottom four must be donkeys, bearing out Bill’s ‘worst of the bad’ theory.
3.30 Ayr: 7f is a specialist trip and only Berbice has won over the distance. But he’s one for a bet-and-lay. Back him and watch him move into contention on the bridle; then nip in and lay him as offers in running go odds on.
He’s made smooth headway behind the leaders 10 or 11 times that I could count, and been in the frame on nine occasions without a win.
4.00 Ayr: Another 7f contest and Red Scintilla is 7lb below her last winning mark. Four others have scored over this specialist trip: Anthemion is 14, Craicattack could manage only fourth in a seller, but Drive Home has done well in cheekpieces and, despite his eight years, Shunkawakhan, the only a course-and-distance winner, is back in his winning grade.
Here are the form figures in the last two years of the top five weighted in this race when running in class-6 turf handicaps: Shunkawakhan 032000000041233; North Central 3223304102; Drive Home 00010; Red Scintilla 1; Honest Buck 0. At Ayr over 7f: Shunkawakhan 02010, North Central 3.
4.30 Ayr: Only The Mellor Fella (6.2 on Betdaq) fits the stats, and you can always forgive a horse one bad run (Circle Of Angels needs even more forgiveness for hers). The handicapper is making Next Edition pay for a consistent two-year-old career. Izzy The Dizzy beat nothing at Ripon but is unexposed.
Shamdarley (holds Honest Deal) takes a big drop in class and could be the one to break the stats. The shape of the race suggests it will be run for her, and Frederik Tylicki shows a level-stakes profit of more than 40 points in the last fortnight, suggesting he can get even the ‘worst of the bad’ home at big odds.
5.00 Ayr: The visors are back on Monkton Vale, who has slipped down the ratings, 11lb below his winning mark. Gordon Elliott (Cadeaux Fax) is two out of three with runners in 3yo-plus handicaps at Ayr.
Plattsburgh and Retreat Content are in winning form but, at this level (class 5), that usually means they’ve bust their lungs once; they’re not likely to do it again in a while. Cadeaux Fax (6.2 on Betdaq) is by Largesse and I need a bit of that.
BET 4.4pts win TIMELESS ELEGANCE (2.30 Ayr)
BET 3.4pts win RED SCINTILLA (4.00 Ayr)
BET 5.7pts win (nap) SHAMDARLEY (4.30 Ayr)
BET 3.8pts win MONKTON VALE and 3.1pts win CADEAUX FAX (5.00 Ayr)