9-1 BULL’S-EYE HIT AND 4.0 NAP: The BETDAQ offers take your breath away, declared Daqman yesterday, claiming Christmas had come early for the first day of Ascot. The result, two winners out of three including a sensational bull’s-eye bet (to win 50 points) at 11.5, and a nap which was 4.0 on BETDAQ but drew clear on its hurdles debut at 6-4 favourite.

WON 6-4 ANGELS BREATH (nap, from 4.0 BETDAQ)

94 POINTS PROFIT IN ONE DAY: Angels Breath was also in Daqman’s horses-to-follow list, declared even before the race as a Fortune Cookie for the festivals next Spring. That reaps in another 30 points for a profit on the day of 74.50. It also takes the horses-to-follow profit to 284.26 overall (20-point stakes).

HE TAKES 9-5 LEAD TO ASCOT: Daqman is also in profit as he leads Pricewise 9-5 for value bets (+8.14 Daqman and +6.83 Pricewise to single-unit stakes). They clash today in the 3.00 and 3.35 Ascot, and the 1.40 Haydock


1.15 Ascot (Graduation Chase) Paul Nicholls has won five in a row during the last decade, and the last time Dolos broke his bridesmaid sequence, it was here at Ascot. I think his 2-1 offers are fair.

1.50 Ascot Stats can be misleading. In this race, no horse of a double-figure age has won in its three years of existence.. or even been placed.

That seems to knock out four of the field, until you look more thoroughly into the results and find that no horse of a double-figure age has even run in it before!

I still prefer the young bloods, and you can’t get younger in this than a four-year-old. Nicholls again with Magic Saint, who ran well on his English debut on ground too fast for him. BETDAQ 5.4 was tempting as a value nap.

2.15 Lingfield Remember this column’s 11-1 Cambridgeshire hit with Wissahickon? John Gosden can’t quite pay for the turkey (he’s made only around £10m this year) so he’s having pulling the Wissa bone.

Yes, this is a different kind of race but the colt is 3-4 on AW (second in the other one).


2.25 Ascot (Long Walk Hurdle) Big Buck’s (2009-11) and Reve de Sivola (2012-14) both landed hat-tricks in this race.

Now the last two winners, Unowhatimeanharry and Sam Spinner, do battle with Unowhatimeanharry a moderate third behind Sam when favourite last year but winner of the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury three weeks back, when a weakening Sam (in first-time cheekpieces today) unseated rider.

Younevercall, also in first-time cheekpieces, must go right-handed – so can’t be left out today – but his best form is all on a sound surface.

I see it as Sam Spinner versus Nicky Henderson! Of his three, Top Notch is prepping for chasing and the two others are testing their ability at 3m, with both strongly preferring righthanded tracks.

Call Me Lord is Flat-bred. That might not stop him winning but it stops me backing him.

The BETDAQ 10.0 offer Soul Emotion slammed dual recent winner Fidux (see 3.35 race) 15 lengths in April and ‘could be anything’. His jockey, Nico de Boinville, owes us nothing after his ride on Angels Breath yesterday.


2.40 Haydock (Tommy Whittle Chase) Favourites are only 1-9 in the decade and a double-figure age hasn’t scored this century.

Clan Legend (3-3 first run back) – a tasty 8.6 on BETDAQ – and Duel At Dawn are solid but this will be a mud bath and dual Haydock winner on heavy, Daklondike, is worth a pound at 8.0, visored first time.

3.00 Ascot (Silver Cup) Young horses again to the fore – no winner over the age of eight – though I warned you earlier in the week that Venetia Williams was back in fine fettle again now (stop flirting, Daqman) and this has always been the plan for Otago Trail, who is 11 in a few days time.

Gold Present won it last year but has not been the same since and this is not his ground. Thomas Patrick has to bounce back from a shocker in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Alan King has waited for the rains before committing Full Glass again (taken out of Cheltenham last week) and Gary Moore has been protecting Benatar’s weight mark, hoping to attack a big’un like this. Usually a tearaway, Benatar’s last run from the back at Ascot was to see if he would settle. He did.


3.35 Ascot This race launched one of the annual stars of my festival horses to follow, those Fortune Cookies we’re now preparing.

His name was Cause Of Causes (2012), three times a big winner at Cheltenham and second in the Grand National.

Can we find another cause today? A Brain Power would do. He won this for Nicky Henderson in 2016.

Not Never is up a stone on what he’s done, but is galloping mad and is going to win a good handicap one day; the Greatwood winner Nietzsche can’t be discounted; Fidux, too, though he may need better ground; Cyrus Darius is dropped back to his winning trip but twice wind-opped; Chatez, better than the bare form; Mr Antolini, loves it heavy but keeps getting punished by the handicapper; Jolly’s Cracked It has a touch of class but prefers the going good.

VERDICT: Tornado Watch (15.0 on BETDAQ this morning) loves the mud, needs to go right-handed, and is a terrier of a racehorse. Not Never (19.0 offers) ‘could be anything’.


1.15 Ascot (win 10)
BET 5pts win DOLOS

1.50 Ascot (win 30)
BET 6.75pts win (nap) MAGIC SAINT

2.25 Ascot (win 50 and win 20)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 5pts win and place SOUL EMOTION
BET 3.5pts win SAM SPINNER

2.40 Haydock (win 20)
BET 2.85pts win DAKLONDIKE
BET 2.75pts win CLAN LEGEND

3.00 Ascot (win 30 and two at win 20)
BET 5.25pts win FULL GLASS
BET 2pts win BENATAR
BET 2.25pts win OTAGO TRAIL

3.35 Ascot (win 50 and win 30)
BET 1.6pts win NOT NEVER

3 x 3pt win doubles and 1pt treble
DOLOS (1.15 Ascot)
MAGIC SAINT (1.50 Ascot)
WISSAHICKON (2.15 Lingfield)

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