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O’BRIEN TRIES TO HIT THE IRISH DERBY FOR SIX: It’s Derby Day at last but, in a Classic twist, it’s at a wet and closed-door Curragh not at Epsom; that one comes next week. So the strength of today’s race is in doubt, though the strength, numerically, of Aidan O’Brien’s squad of six could take him to a 14th victory. Daqman prefers a win and place on an opponent already with Classic form.

PUTTING 16.5 BULL’S-EYE BETS ON A HOT PLATE: The field for the old Pitman’s Derby, the Northumberland Plate, was previewed by Daqman yesterday. He nails his colours to two outsiders at 16.5 for bull’s-eye bets on BETDAQ this morning. Headlines:



⭕ 1.50 Newcastle (Chipchase Stakes) Mubakker is the day’s nap, taken at 3.55 on BETDAQ early mouse. Three out of three on AW and an impressive winner here at Newcastle on the last day.

He is taken to continue his rise up the ladder at the main expense in the market of eight-year-olds Brando and Judicial.

Major Jumbo is often thereabouts but has won only once in nine races since 2018. That was round Chester where he was pushed into the lead and never given a chance to resist a merry-go-round on the rails.


⭕ 2.25 Newcastle (Gosforth Park Cup) If trainer form is the criterion, then delete El Hombre (Keith Dalgleish), Ornate (David Griffiths), Caspian Prince (Michael Appleby), Venturous (David Barron), Outrage (Daniel Kubler), Cowboy Soldier and Encore d’Or (both Robert Cowell).

El Hombre, Lord Riddiford and Outrage are the only ones not to have been seen in the last three weeks, which reduces their chances.

Lahore has never won this high in the handicap. Magical Spirit is up 13lb and three grades since his Newcastle win in November.

Can he continue the improvement? Trainer Kevin Ryan thinks not; he’s dropped Ascot star Kevin Stott for the 3lb claim that Megan Nicholls can bring to the ride.

So I see the race as a rematch of last year’s one-two, runner-up Copper Knight (BETDAQ 8.6) now 3lb better for just threeparts of a length with the winner, Fool For You (8.2).


⭕ 2.40 Newmarket (Criterion Stakes) A collection of top-of-the ground winners on a day when there’s rain about!

The last two to land the race, Sir Dancealot and Limato, are deadlocked in the ratings on 114 each, but not in the betting where Sir Dancelot drifted like a sure loser out to 15.5 on BETDAQ.

Both would suffer from the forecast showers, Limato just as much, yet he was a 4.5 offer when I checked out the BETDAQ orange. He needs it firm, and hasn’t scored on his reappearance since 2015.

Vale Of Kent, Happy Power and Mubtasim, all Listed level at best, handicappers really, are a bit flattered by 108-112 ratings, but On The Warpath (110) can’t beat Mubtasim at levels on their previous form here.

Mubtasim is the reliable horse (form figures 12132 for Charlie Appleby) but he could also find very little support this morning, out to 9.2.

Vale Of Kent won for Frankie Dettori at HQ a year ago and ran a cracking fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup. He’ll do for me at 4.4.


⭕ 3.35 Newcastle (Northumberland Plate) Full guide to the field in yesterday’s Daqman; check out the Archive.

The plunge horse is Rainbow Dreamer for Alan King, better known over Jumps but picking handicap plums from under the noses of Flat-handicap trainers.

I left Dreamer out because he’s only ever won in small races: three, four, five, seven (twice), eight (twice) and nine runners. His best big-field quality handicap form is 4th of 18 in the Ascot Stakes of 2017.

My ‘hidden horses’ against the field, Rajinsky and Just Hubert, were both 16.5 this morning in the BETDAQ orange.

ORDER IN: 1️⃣ Rajinsky, 2️⃣ Australis, 3️⃣  Just Hubert, 4️⃣ Smart Champion.


No country for old men? Don’t tell 53-year-old Kevin James Manning, who rides the only colt with Classic form in today’s Irish Derby.

Kevin won the race for Jim Bolger on Trading Leather, and he wouldn’t trade the same trainer’s Fiscal Rules, who found the Irish Guineas field going hell for leather but was making a late run, his form already boosted by the English 2,000 result.

Fiscal Rules is drawn where the Irish Derby winner usually comes from and is taken to topple the Ballydoyle pair, cheekpieced Arthur’s Kingdom and Santiago who, if in the same form as at Ascot, will be staying on better than most. Forecast rain is in their favour.

⭕ 7.15 The Curragh (Irish Derby) Some stats are out of the window because of missing trials and the running of this Irish Derby before the Epsom Derby. It’s usually the other way round, giving us a Classic result with collateral form.

Some established facts remain: seven of the last eight winners have been drawn 1 to 5; six out of 10 trained by (13 times the winner) Aidan O’Brien, who has thankfully whittled down his 35 entries to six of the 15 starters. My order in:

1️⃣ Fiscal Rules Still a maiden but his fifth in the Irish Guineas behind Siskin- struggling to go the pace early – was ‘a hell of an effort’, says the form book, for one who was racing for only the second time.

First time out last season, he ran a head second to Wichita (on yielding), who was beaten a neck by Kameko in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas. Drawn 5, and I took 8.8 on BETDAQ.

2️⃣ Arthur’s Kingdom At Ascot early in the week, so it’s only 11 days since the Camelot colt chased home Pyledriver in the ‘Ascot Derby’ King Edward V11 Stakes. That puts him close to stablemate Russian Emperor, who goes to Epsom. Drawn 4. Cheekpieces first time today and will welcome any rain.

3️⃣ Santiago Today’s race comes quickly after his Queens Vase success at Royal Ascot only eight days ago. He can’t be expected to make much immediate progress from that but may not have to, as 111 top-rated here. Seamie Heffernan’s pick and happy in softer conditions.

4️⃣ Gold Maze Can he give his sire, Golden Horn, a much-needed boost at stud? Dam a Galileo mare related to Group winners. Beresford third to Innisfree, and kept on well, runner-up to Crossfirehurricane in the Gallinule (1m 2f) a fortnight back. Well drawn; stable in form.

5️⃣ Sherpa Broke maiden on soft, third on firm to Crossfirehurricane and Gold Maze in the Gallinule. With rain about, I reckon Gold Maze and Sherpa will have a better chance than Crossfirehurricane. Drawn 6.

6️⃣ New York Girl The only filly in the race. Broke her maiden on heavy but not much luck in running on firm when fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, though worry that she reared at the start. High stall but rain welcome.

7️⃣ Dawn Patrol Galileo half-brother to Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi was favourite when beaten by stablemate Tiger Moth in a Leopardstown maiden 18 days ago. Could improve for that.


Chiricahua Beaten a head at Naas in November by Nobel Prize, 17 lengths behind Santiago in the Queens Vase at Ascot.

Crossfirehurricane Not really bred for today’s trip but unbeaten in four starts up to 1m 2f, including in the Gallinule. Some question of how he would react under pressure (has shied away from the whip). Drawn wide in 13 and several behind him in the Gallinule will appreciate today’s longer trip in rain-soaked ground.

Galileo Chrome Strong-travelling son of Australia who sired Broome, beaten only half a length in the Epsom Derby. Course winner, drawn high. See King Of The Throne.

Iberia Hasn’t won since his maiden six races ago, always a bad sign; and blinkered first time when third to Cormorant and Russian Emperor in the Derrinstown Derby Trial. Drawn in the one stall.

King Of The Throne Not guaranteed to get this trip but made all until headed final stride by Galileo Chrome (rec 3lb) in a 1m 2f Curragh maiden 15 days back. Low drawn.

Order Of Australia Third in first-time blinkers to Tiger Moth and Dawn Patrol in strong maiden at Leopardstown 18 days ago. Drawn 9.

Sunchart Heavy-ground winner last year, last of five – feeling the firm surface – behind Cormorant in the Derrinstown. Low drawn.

Tiger Moth Though by Galileo, speed related; yet looked likely to stay further when breaking his maiden at Leopardstown 18 days ago at the expense of stablemate Dawn Patrol (1m 3f). Drawn 2. Chance; they all have!


1.50 Newcastle (win 20)
BET 8pts win (nap) MUBAKKER

2.25 Newcastle (win 20 each)
BET 2.75pts win FOOL FOR YOU

2.40 Newmarket (win 20)
BET 5.75pts win VALE OF KENT

3.35 Newcastle (win 50)

7.15 The Curragh (win 50, win 10 place)
BULL’S-EYE BET 6.5pts win, 5pts place FISCAL RULES

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