4-1 TWICE PUTS DAQMAN AHEAD AGAIN: Daqman twice won 20 points at Epsom when Baldemar (WON 4-1) and Shesha Bear (WON 4-1) both scored at the same price. With Three Sugars (WON 5-6) as a saver in a Goodwood race, he finished well ahead on the day.
BETDAQ RACES AT KEMPTON: He goes to Kempton tonight for the four Betdaq-sponsored races, and tries to pot a big-odds nap at 7-1.
They’ve missed out the man. There are two things I can tell you about Alex Bird, the legendary gambler, that will flesh out the bones of the Racing Post article today.
When I first went to York racecourse as a boy reporter, I nervously spoke to ‘Mr Bird’ and he responded willingly to my few naïve questions. Then he said something he didn’t have to say, and was true to his word about it afterwards:
‘If you see me on a racecourse, no matter who I’m with, say ‘hello’; come over and chat if you want to.’ There was nothing ‘remote’ about Alex Bird.
Most memorable for me is that he engaged with the bookmakers. Yes, pro punters over the years have had to relate to the Rails, or to those few in the Ring who take a ‘real’ bet, and they have their arguments. But Alex had the balls to confront them on their own territory, and not only on his own account, if he felt they were being unfair.
One day at York, I was talking to him about the form of a race, and he said suddenly: ‘I’ve just got to nip into Ladhills box and give them a piece of my mind.’ Alex hauled their man out of the box and proceeded to tell him that the ante-post odds on offer were a ‘ludicrous scandal’ and that his firm should be ‘ashamed’ of the ‘rip-off’ that constituted their ‘so-called market.’
He proceeded to outline changes to their book, which would accommodate their liabilities – ‘come on, how much do you have this one down for?’ – and moderate the market.
We then repaired to the famous tailgate champagne picnic, which Bird would station in the Members’ car-park. A police constable and a car-park attendant were nearby, discussing the finer points of the law: ‘They look after my party and I don’t even have to pay them!’ Bird quipped, glass in hand. Times have changed, as they say.
Maybe we should have a pound on Style And Panache (3.50 Folkestone) in tribute to the great man. He’d no doubt have followed closely the career of William Buick, aligned as he is with his trainer’s son, John Gosden.
But the trainer in this case, David Evans, has us covering our own tailgate by booking Kieren Fallon for one-time Windsor specialist Miss Chamanda in the same race, back from a long lay-off on that course last time out and leading at today’s trip until lack of match practice told on her.
Miss Chamanda is one of nine rides for Fallon today as he hunts up the title. Like Fallon, Buick goes on to Kempton tonight but for just the one ride, and it’s for Gosden: Trumpington Street (8.20).
Soft ground and a longer trip have found him out the last twice but he now returns to a mile, which saw him make all in July, and he’s well drawn in stall 2 to try that trick again: 12.5 on Betdaq, as I write.
Point Du Jour (stall 1), Wiqaaya (in 3) and Taqaat (in 4) have also been known to lead, or take a keen hold, so there is likely to be a cracking pace on the rail. That could let in Fallon again.
Shooting Line, a pace tracker, got off the mark under Fallon last time out, his first run back since encountering useful sorts in Primevere and Masked Marvel last backend.
The stable in form here is David Elsworth (a hat-trick on Saturday) with Social Forum, the dark horse is the maiden Switchback, and even the Queen has a runner (General Synod). An absolute cracker on a very decent day which starts at 5.50 p.m.
5.50 Kempton (Free Entry For Betdaq Members Handicap): The cat could come out of the bag, yet another clever handicap placing by Sir Mark Prescott. Waltzing Cat’s main rival may be Tamara Bay, who is on a similar mission for William Haggas.
6.20 Kempton (Lay Back And Win At betdaq.com Selling Stakes): Conducting seems to want further and Chilledtothebone has had his win – though Fallon on a Yorkshire raider is interesting – so I shall have my pound on Flying Phoenix, who made all, gambled on, and won six lengths last time she was dropped to this level.
A cracking 8.0 (‘true odds’) in an eight-runner race, just the sort of bet the Each-Way King, Alex Bird, used to like.
7.20 Kempton (betdaq.com Exchange Price Multiples Maiden Stakes): What no handicap for Eclipseoftheheart? She carries on maiden hunting so, Fallon, or not, 2.51 this morning does not appeal. The same applies to Jumeira Field, a Stoute cast-off.
Always Like This was in a poor race at Wolverhampton before Christmas, and the others with so-called ‘form’ also have a lot to prove. It’s a race for sticking in the pin and hoping it does not hurt too much. One of the newcomers, Darsan and Kampai, might be good enough.
7.50 Kempton (Betdaq Mobile Apps Nursery): The Fallon factor, and the first-time-in-a-handicap trick, both point to Spunky, but Finley Connolly and Always A Sinner are playing the same game, while Astraios could do better in the blinkers.
BET 4pts win MISS CHAMANDA and 3.2pts win STYLE AND PANACHE (3.50 Folkestone)
BET 5pts win (nap) WALTZING CAT (5.50 Kempton)
BET 2.7pts win and place FLYING PHOENIX (6.20 Kempton)
BET 5pts win SWITCHBACK and 1.6pts win TRUMPINGTON STREET (8.20 Kempton)