TON-UP BET AND A GRAND NATIONAL HORSE AT 40-1: Daqman tries to win 100 points with a ton-up bet and land a supernap in earlier races at Aintree in the hope of filling his wallet for the Grand National, where one of his selections was bigger than 40-1 in the BETDAQ orange this morning. His headlines:






DAQMAN 50 POINTS UP ON PRICEWISE: Daqman leads Pricewise 10-2 with Daqman 50 points clear (Daqman +26.00, Pricewise –23.75) to a single unit on each of their selections at SP. But it’s a day that could produce a big change in the points situation. Both have four bets.


It’s a National lottery. Back to the drawing-board or should that be draining-board! My hopes for good ground – the one-time prediction of the weathermen – are all washed up as the rain makes conditions more suitable to welly-throwing or deep-dyke snorkelling.

You couldn’t have made bigger divots with plough shares at Aintree yesterday. It’s same again after the mud-bath which was Cheltenham made a ‘right divvy’ out of me and many other punters.

We can expect a repeat of the fate of such horses as (ironically) Who Dares Wins in the opener yesterday, so close despite giving lumps of weight away.

We saw it in the last big National less than two weeks ago: I was counting my money from the gallant Bellshill, headed only on the run-in for the Irish Grand National, giving away between 18lb and two stone to the first three.

We all know the class horses today (should we stick to them?) but we don’t know which of the overlooked lightweights will come out of the pack and pinch the prize from us.

Winners by weight in the handicaps in the first two days of Aintree: 10st 8lb, 10st 9lb and 11st 1lb yesterday in the Topham over the National fences. Winning SPs yesterday included 25-1, 20-1, 14-1 (twice) and 11-1. So it’s who dares find a good outsider wins..

There is perhaps a lifeline for quality from the Becher Chase result over the big fences on heavy in December when Blaklion (11st 6lb) beat The Last Samuri (11st 12lb). But there’s another mile to go today! This is my 1-2-3-4:


1 Tiger Roll Number one has to be Tiger Roll, who is perfectly poised as lucky number 13, carrying 10st 13lb!

He won at Cheltenham last year over four miles and then battled like the man he is though aged only eight with the rough and tumble of the cross-country (3m 6f) there a month back.

It was a pattern his trainer, Gordon Elliott, laid down with Silver Birch and almost repeated last year with Cause Of Causes. Worry: the ground.

2 Ucello Conti Gordon is on a roll this season, and I’m putting his Tiger Roll stablemate, Ucello Conti (10st 10lb) in as number two, then I have the toughest, daringmost jockey (Davy Russell) and the rider in form at Liverpool this week (Daryl Jacob).

Daryl, king of the Brits in the National today in the absence of champion Richard Johnson, told us yesterday that Ucello Conti, sixth last year, was absolutely spot on and that he couldn’t wait to ride him. Worry: hasn’t won for nearly four years.

3 Blaklion This was my ante-post bet in this column way back. Fourth last year but with Sam Twiston-Davies likely to show more restraint than Noel Fehily last year. Worry: too much weight.

4 Pleasant Company Loves heavy ground. Ninth last year after stumbling at a vital time, when his jockey of today won the race. Just two quiet runs since with the National as the target. Worry: the other 37.

NEVER TOO OLD: When it’s a slog, the old-timers show their experience but it depends entirely which one has a going day: Lord Windermere, Double Ross, Saint Are could figure, Gas Line Boy, Houblon des Obeaux.. Raz De Maree is probably the most consistent but 13 now.

NEGATIVES: Anibale Fly doesn’t get high enough at his fences for me. The Last Samuri looks to have too much weight now.

Total Recall is likely to be in contention but has Regal Encore right on his shoulder on Ladbrokes Trophy form and Alpha des Obeaux massively better on their Munster National one-two (but that one can break blood-vessels).

Vieux Lion Rouge has done well in the race, but only to prove his lack of stamina at the finish, though he was top of my ABC guide, as follows

DAQMAN’S ABC GUIDE (see Tuesday column):

1 Vieux Lion Rouge Course specialist, the right age and never fallen.
2 Blaklion Never out of the first five in 25 starts but up in the weights
3 The Last Samuri 10lb higher than when second in the 2016 National
4 I Just Know, Tiger Roll Neither has fallen; trainers have ace National records.

SEE HOW THEY WON (see Wednesday column)

See How They Won revealed past race records of the National winners since 2000. This is how those records apply to today’s runners. Top nine:

1 Blaklion Fourth last year. Won Becher Chase; second twice Haydock Grand National Trial.
2 The Last Samuri Second in 2016. Second and third Becher Chase; third Cheltenham Festival cross-country
3 Tiger Roll won NH Chase and Cheltenham Festival cross country.
4 Total Recall won Ladbrokes Trophy (ex Hennessy) and Ladbrokes Munster National.
5 Pleasant Company ninth last year; won the Bobbyjo.
6 Baie Des Iles fifth Irish National, sixth Welsh National, won Punchestown Grand National Trial
7 Vieux Lion Rouge sixth and seventh in Grand Nationals; won Haydock Grand National Trial.
8 Milansbar won Warwick Classic; second Midlands National twice; ninth Scottish national, placed twice Welsh National trial, fifth Eider Chase
9 Alpha Des Obeaux second Munster National, eighth Irish National, fourth RSA


1.45 Aintree Lightweights win this, but there aren’t any! It’s a short handicap of 11lb, but the two occasions in the decade that it was won with more than 11st 3lb, the ground was on the goodish side.

Dream Berry has raced only once since last April (stayed on well at Cheltenham) and Debece hasn’t run at all since third here in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle!

Connetable will prefer this track to Cheltenham, when he just faded into third on the run-in for the Pertemps Final: 13.0 on BETDAQ this morning.

But No Hassle Hoff (17.0 offers) is the one at the right end of the handicap, for whom the rain is a big bonus. Bridget Andrews can literally get one jump ahead of the Grand National girls.


2.25 Aintree This has produced some quality winners: Simonsig , Nichols Canyon, Yorkhill, Finan’s Oscar.

I ignored my Fortune Cookie yesterday (Politologue won at 11-1..ouch! ) and, though I’ve always intended to stick with Black Op here, Tom George’s appalling form puts me off the maximum which I intended.

Of his 10 runners in the fortnight, three have pulled up and, of those still standing have never been nearer than 25 lengths off the winner. Seven of them have been beaten a total of 281 lengths.

The ground is a worry for good-to-soft-only winner On The Blind Side and Western Ryder, for whom heavy going was given as an excuse at Sandown.
Better Getalong has drifted like a lonely dog on a raft, right over my betting weir to near on 50.0.

Lostintranslation is a good-actioned horse ‘going right to the top,’ Colin Tizzard told me last year. He might have been unlucky with the ground but it’s a test of his supposed class: I took 15.0 for a ton-up bet.


3.00 Aintree Sprinter Sacre and Douvan both won this (off 161 and 169) as six-year-olds but the youngsters lack quality here, with Shantou Rock’s 148 the highest rating against Petit Mouchoir’s 157.

Shantou Rock and Diego Du Charmil would prefer better ground. Lady Buttons gets a mare’s allowance but still has to find 10lb with Petit Mouchoir on the official ratings.

So it all seems to add up to a supernap, if you haven’t reached for your Petit Mouchoir (little hankie) by now.


1.45 Aintree (win 30)
BET 2.5pts win and place CONNETABLE
BET 1.85pts win and place NO HASSLE HOFF

2.25 Aintree (win 100)
BET (to win 20) 7pts win BLACK OP

3.00 Aintree (SP supernap)

3.40 Aintree (win 20)
BET 1.75pts win and place BELLS OF AILSWORTH

4.20 Aintree (win 20)

5.15 Aintree Grand National (all win-50 bets)
BULL’S-EYE BET 3.3pts win and place TIGER ROLL (15.0 Betdaq)
BULL’S-EYE BET 2.5pts win and place UCELLO CONTI (21.0 Betdaq)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 1.2pts win and place PLEASANT COMPANY (43.0 Betdaq)
(already Bull’s-Eye Bet ante-post BLAKLION)

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