DAQMAN THE HIT MAN AGAINST ODDS-ON SHOT: Hitman, L’Homme Presse and Constitution Hill. It’s a day of odds-on shots but betting lore says that one or more of the big names may fall, and Daqman assesses the chances and tries to be the hit man! Edwardstone has already gone, potentially leaving an Ascot handicap wide open for betting purposes.

PROTEKTORAT CAN BEAT THE GOLD CUP WINNER: After previews all the week, Daqman tops his form and ratings guides with the Lancashire Chase, where he stands by his Fortune Cookie (Protektorat) against yet another odds-on favourite, Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard.

Headlines:
DARING AN ASCOT DOUBLE WHAMMY
NO WORRIES AT ALL ON THE GROUND
CONSTITUTION HILL TO STORM HOME
RATINGS AND FORM FOR THE BIG RACE
IRISH RAIDER CAN PUT THE BOOT IN


DARING AN ASCOT DOUBLE WHAMMY

⭕ 1.50 Haydock and 2.05 Ascot Paul Nicholls and Venetia Williams pose the question: are you a backer or a layer at odds on today?

Nicholls, who has won the Graduation Chase (1.50 Haydock) eight times in 10 years, saddles Hitman, 10lb and more clear of the opposition and 1.5 on BETDAQ this morning.

Hitman swerves the Grade-2 at Ascot (2.05), which Nicholls has taken four times in nine years, with stable stars Al Ferof (twice), Politologue and Cyrname.

LAYS LOGIC: So Saint Calvados now faces 1.34 BETDAQ favourite L’Homme Presse but, while Nicholls has been absolutely flying with strike rates varying between 40-50% since the end of the Flat season, L’Homme Presse’s yard is in the doldrums.

Venetia Williams is now 0-26 in the last two weeks, and has gone 211 days without a Jumps winner from 38 starters. The lay is 1.63 as I write.

Nicholls has blamed himself for Saint-Calvados’ reputation as an under-achiever but says he thinks he now has him right: BETDAQ 4.3. Tempting double whammy!


NO WORRIES AT ALL ON THE GROUND

⭕ 2.25 Haydock Not a single winning favourite in the decade for this 3m stayers’ hurdle, which in-form David Pipe has won twice in the decade.

His seven-year-old Brinkley is 2lb lower in the ratings than when winning on heavy at Exeter, among three wins out of four, still standing, last year.

The question mark over Irish-raider Run For Oscar, whose best recent form is on the Flat (won the Newmarket Cesarewitch on a sound surface) is whether he will stay this trip on the deep ground.

Might I has raced only in novice company but met some of the best (placed behind both Constitution Hill and Jonbon) and was second at Grade-1 level at Aintree in April.

His family got today’s trip and more, and he won his debut hurdle on heavy ground.

Good Risk At All, a horse with a very high cruising speed, was behind Might I at Aintree but was strong in the market when easily beating Wholestone at Carlisle the last day (2m 4f heavy), with Ailie Rose third.

Wholestone won the Rendlesham over CD here on heavy in February.

Complete Unknown was marked down for novice chaser but – in another Nicholls’ conundrum – he’s sticking to hurdles for now. He and Ailie Rose are only six and, as the man said, their fencing future is before them!

Betdaq Betting Exchange 5.3 Good Risk At All, 9.9 Brinkley


CONSTITUTION HILL TO STORM HOME

⭕ 2.40 Ascot (Ascot Hurdle): Nicky Henderson picks up the baton from Nicholls and Ms Williams and gives you the run-around with another odds-on favourite, Constitution Hill.

As I warned in my preview, Nicky Henderson has won the Ascot Hurdle with two market leaders in the decade, Oscar Whisky (won 8-15) and last year Buzz (won evens), but he’s also trained two of five strong-priced losers, 6-4 Call Me Lord and 7-2 L’Ami Serge.

One of today’s opposition, the enigma Goshen, is already a beaten favourite in the race, last of 10 at 6-4, and described in the yard as ‘a bull who just wants to go.’

Constitution Hill careered away with his three novice hurdles by a grand total of Surely, the Champion Hurdle favourite won’t break sweat to beat Brewinupastorm.


RATINGS AND FORM FOR THE BIG RACE

⭕ 3.00 Haydock (Lancashire Chase) The Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard and the people’s favourite, Frodon, meet a three-time winner of this race, Bristol de Mai. As if that’s not enough, add emerging talent in Protektorat and Eldorado Allen. Ratings and form:

180 A PLUS TARD Runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup of 2021 before going one better this year, with today’s race in between just a canter by 22 lengths.

164 FRODON Sensational King George winners of 2020, Frodon and Bryony Frost put in another dream round in the Badger Beer at Wincanton earlier this month.

164 PROTEKTORAT Runner-up in the Autumn Gold Cup last November and third to A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup, both at Cheltenham, but landed an Aintree double in the Manifesto and the Many Clouds.

162 ELDORADO ALLEN Best form, his Grade-2 defeat in the Denman Chase in February of last year’s runner-up in this race, Royal Pagaille.

158 BRISTOL DE MAI Owned this race, as Lancashire Chase winner in 2017, 2018 and 2020, but pulled up behind A Plus Tard a year ago, and this is probably his swan-song.


IRISH RAIDER CAN PUT THE BOOT IN

⭕ 3.15 Ascot Arkle winner Edwardstone was to have taken the handicap route here but dropped out this morning.

Three times Third Time Lucki has seen the rear view of Edwardstone. Can he now take advantage of his nemesis’ absence?

Thyme White appeared to win well here last month, beating Frere Bambou, a handicapper from a stable badly out of form, with Before Midnight a moderate third and Amoola Gold tailed off.

Boothill beat a subsequent winner at Newton Abbot with plenty in hand but So Scottish is claimed off, giving him 10lb with which to put the boot in!

So Scottish has moved up the ladder with a couple of easy rounds, last time breaking what would have been four in a row for another capable youngster.

BETDAQ value: 3.95 So Scottish

DAQMAN’S BETS

2.00 Ascot (Double Whammy)
BET 3pts to win 10 SAINT CALVADOS
LAY 10pts L’HOMME PRESSE

2.25 Haydock (win 20 each)
BET 4.5pts win GOOD RISK AT ALL
BET 2.25pts win BRINKLEY

3.15 Ascot (win 18)
BET 6pts win SO SCOTTISH

3.35 Haydock (win 20 each)
BET 2.75pts win TRUCKERS LODGE
BET 2.25pts win GOOD BOY BOBBY

FORTUNE COOKIES
L’HOMME PRESSE
(2.05 Ascot)
PROTEKTORAT
(3.00 Haydock, nap)


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DAQMAN Weds: Kempton NAP
DAQSTATS Weds: Kempton NAP
THE STRIKER Weds: MAN U v LEEDS
THE STRIKER Weds: Sunderland v Fulham (FA Cup)
THE EDGE Thurs: India v Australia 1st Test
PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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