BACK-TO- BACK NAPS FOR DAQMAN: Daqman is in tip form for Cheltenham next week, with back-to back naps after Jezki won the big race at Leopardstown yesterday. The hat-trick bid today is with a 6.0 BETDAQ offer at Sandown.
WON 11-4 MOABIT (Thursday nap)
WON 11-10 JEZKI (Friday nap)
HE LEADS FOR VALUE BY 60 POINTS: Sandown renews the battle for value against the Racing Post, with Daqman 22, Pricewise 10 the current score and, to a single-unit stake, Daqman + 44, Pricewise -16 down.
THE RUSSIAN IS COMING AT 20-1
1.50 Sandown (NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final) Five and six year olds only win this. Just the one favourite up in the decade.
It’s a big leap from class 4 or 5 novices for most of these, with Turtle Wars an obvious likely improver, Nicky Henderson having won this twice since 2011.
Henderson’s other runner, Indian Hawk, has been given a high mark, though the form of his two wins have not worked out.
The Russian Doyen, related to Denman on the dam’s side, also has a high mark but had both big entries (Supreme and Ballymore) at Cheltenham. The only other with a festival entry, Game On, seemingly swerves the Albert Bartlett for this.
The Dubai Way has already won a handicap and is bred to step up to today’s trip. Unbeaten in four starts under Rules.
Melrose Boy was a good third at this Grade 3 (Class 1) level on today’s course over further, and he was the money horse until the morning punt on Al Shahir, who was put away for this after making all at Towcester in December.
The form hasn’t amounted to much but he’s bred for this longer trip and was earlier runner-up at Wetherby to Supreme Novices gamble Kalashnikov – albeit by a long-looking 10 lengths – in a race revealing several winners.
VERDICT: Hard to find the ‘hit’ in this one, with SPs of 8-1 (three times), 14-1 (twice) and 20-1 in the last six seasons. But the stats teach us that the winner comes from quality at the top of the handicap (11-6 to 11-12 in five of the last six seasons).
And The Russian Doyen (around 20-1, I took 19.5 on BETDAQ early mouse) looks likely to improve significantly, running green until recently and under the cloud of the Tizzard loss of form. Both he and Team Tizzard now seem solid.
It’s even harder choosing a second bet from Melrose Boy, Turtle Wars, Al Shahir and a late whisper from my man in the long grass, Canelo. But Canelo looks big at BETDAQ offers of 18.5, with Alan King bullish.
JOHNSON SWITCH IS THE IRONY
2.25 Sandown (Imperial Cup) Again, go for five and six year-olds (seven out of nine), and sharp handicap trainers: Nicky Henderson, Dr Richard Newland, David Pipe and Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Call Me Lord has an impossible task at the weights, according to the stats, but he holds up the handicap for stablemate Whatswrongwithyou, albeit trainer Henderson is embarrassed that the gelding has still been running in novice races at the age of seven.
Le Patriote (Newland) has long experience of handicapping here and in France, coming to the boil at Ascot last time. Travels well but has awkward head-carriage and finds zilch off the bridle.
Friday Night Light, second in that Ascot race, is 3lb better for a length and now wears a visor instead of cheekpieces.
Master Of Irony has been claimer ridden since last Spring. Richard Johnson takes over on the apple of Evan Williams’ eye and he gets in here nicely.
The overnight punt, but still 11.5 on BETDAQ at the time of writing. Will run in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham if he wins this.
GET ON THE ‘BLOWER’ FOR 6.0
3.00 Sandown Four-year-olds do well in this with their allowance and only Aimee De Sivola (4.4 BETDAQ) represents them. Another Richard Johnson booking.
3.35 Sandown Pete The Feat is 14 and this is no amateurs’ slog like Ratify’s success here yesterday.
The Pricewise tip Topper Thornton has to bounce back to Irish form, 13lb higher than he last won off. Shanroe Santos is the same age (improvement unlikely) and he’s been hiked 9lb higher than his winning weight last year.
Fourth Act was 27 lengths behind Santos that day but Colin Tizzard obviously thinks he can do better in the first-time blinkers.
Tanit River was back to form on. The last day but, for me, Horatio Hornblower is the hidden horse in this respect: cheekpieces that helped him win at Newbury are back on today, and he has a tendency to jump to the right so Sandown should suit: I took 6.0.
1.50 Sandown (win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 2.85pts win and place CANELO
BULL’S-EYE BET: 2.75pts win and place THE RUSSIAN DOYEN
2.25 Sandown (win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 4.75pts win and place MASTER OF IRONY
3.00 Sandown (win 20)
BET 6pts win AIMEE DE SIVOLA
3.35 Sandown (win 30)
BET 6pts win (nap) HORATIO HORNBLOWER
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