NATIONAL WRAP AND FLAT RELAUNCH: Next week we start again on the Flat with the first Newmarket meeting which features the first three-year-old Classic trials. More about that tomorrow. Meanwhile Daqman puts the Grand National to bed and previews Group-3 races in Ireland.
TOMORROW: Flat-season diary with Do’s and Don’ts of punting.
HOW YEATS STRUCK GOLD AGAIN
Four times Ascot Gold Cup winner. An exceptional stayer trained by Aidan O’Brien. Now the horse of the week.. as new leader of the NH sires list!
If I’m looking for a link between yesterday’s Grand National and the abrupt, almost absurd, switch to the Flat at the Curragh today, that is a profound one.
The sire Yeats, he of the Ascot gold hoard, had a huge presence at the Aintree meeting with his sons and daughters Conflated, Ilikedwayurthinkin, De Rasher Counter, Flooring Porter, Longhouse Poet, Mount Ida and, last but not least, Noble Yeats.
As with every other race in this crazy sport, we will all look back and tell ourselves how we might have found the 50-1 winner.. or how we would never have found it in a million years!
Other than that, the National is like no other race. It invariably produces fairytale headlines – yesterday it was Sam’s Last Ride – even when the results are all too common to British ears: the Irish get the first three again, groan!
The 40 steeplechase chargers freewheeled around the fresh Aintree National track like a green-baize Southwell with Christmas trees for fences, running the National nearly a minute fast.
No wonder the Cheltenham horses like Edwardstone, Flooring Porter and Champ were left gasping on the day.
In all my previewing of the 2022 Grand National, I wrote only eight words that bear repeating. In the ABC guide I said of Noble Yeats:
‘Inexperienced seven-year-old, well bred for stamina.’ You can say that again.
It might have been winning rider, Sam Waley-Cohen, and all those jockeys and trainers who plot and plan for months to make it big, whom Yeats himself had in mind when he said: ‘Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot but make it hot by striking!’
HIGH HOPES OF RETURN TO FORM
⭕ 3.05 The Curragh (Alleged Stakes) Aidan O’Brien has won this Group 3 three times in the last four years with obvious form horses.
At Naas, he took it with the St Leger winner, Capri, then with the Fillies And Mares champion Magical, and last year – here at The Curragh – with Derby-fourth Broome.
High Definition is not even top-rated today. He won back to back at the Curragh on autumn ground as a juvenile, and seemed to start out right in his Classic season with third in the Dante.
But he was then twice beaten favourite, and nearer last than first in the Irish Derby (10th) and the Doncaster St Leger (ninth), for which he was supplemented at a cost of £50,000.
That The Lads still have faith in him suggests that maybe O’Brien’s team found something wrong and are still hoping to level up the balance sheet; maybe the big horse just needed time to fill his frame. BETDAQ 5.0.
Top rating off 116 is Helvic Dream of Noel Meade’s, only fourth in this race last April, the second in a sequence.
That sequence was four consecutive races against High Definition’s stablemate, Broome, improving every time until finally beating him in the Group-1 Tattersalls Gold Cup here on soft-heavy.
Meade also runs Layfayette, who readily won a Listed at Naas in March, with Bear Story in third. Georgeville was another progressive sort last season.
⭕ 3.40 The Curragh (Gladness Stakes) Four-year-olds dominate a race over the specialist 7f trip, at which Thunder Moon is a CD winner.
If you allow that he drops from mainly Group 1 in Europe, and ignore his trip to Riyadh, then he had an adequate pipe-opener on AW and should do himself justice today.
A price seems assured by the presence of the recent three-year-old handicap winner, Markaz Paname, too short to be value, taking on his elders for the first time. Thunder Moon is worth a pound at BETDAQ 7.0.
⭕ 4.05 Stratford Earcomesbob looks a little skinny on BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE for this handicap chase. He was disappointing last time out when beaten 18 lengths at Chepstow and the balance of his form suggests he is better with some give in the ground.
A better value play could be Goodnight Charlie who handles the ground well and put a couple of disappointing efforts behind him when a close up second at Fakenham last time out over a marathon 3m 5f.
We have to rely on him putting two good runs back to back but he’s a genuine stayer in a field of several suspect ones.
Artemision steps up to this distance for the first time having, for my money, struggled to see out a shorter three mile trip at Huntingdon last time out.
CHIPS DOWN ON 4 OF A KIND
⭕ 4.40 Stratford Poker Master can complete a quick-fire four-timer.
His three wins have come twice at Huntingdon and once at Ludlow since February and he has given the distinct impression there’s more still to come – despite the rise in weights.
He’s up another 5lb but could shrug that off at the expense of Bay Of Intrigue who is unproven on this quicker surface.
3.05 The Curragh (win 10)
BET 4pts (nap) win HIGH DEFINITION
3.40 The Curragh (win 12)
BET 2pts win THUNDER MOON
4.05 Stratford (win 10)
BET 1.8pts win GOODNIGHT CHARLIE
4.40 Stratford (win 10)
BET 3.2pts win POKER MASTER
What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….
Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.