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ULSTER NATIONAL DAY AND A POTENTIAL HIDDEN ACE AT 36.0: Is this the last National this season? Northern Ireland’s Ulster National today is up in numbers and in quality, with the Irish and English Nationals both likely lost. Daqman finds value bets on BETDAQ at 6.6 and 13.5 but starts the day with a real wild card at 36.0, reasoning why it could be a hidden ace.

LOOK OUT FOR THE FLAT FROM TOMORROW IN BIG-RACE WEEK: Naas launches the Irish Flat season tomorrow, which quickly has its own big race at the end of the week, with the opening of the Curragh and the Irish Lincolnshire. More Daqman insight of stats and facts will be free on this site.


⭕ 2.40 Downpatrick Mark McNiff trained the winner of this 2m 3f handicap hurdle four times with five runners in seven years (2010-17), using four different jockeys.

All were well backed, one of them a four-year-old with a feather weight, so we assume that Fassbender is on target for this afternoon, despite being not wanted in the bookies’ markets at around 22-1.

Of course, that’s a short price when you compare BETDAQ offers, early mouse. You could have got 36.0, not to much liquidity, but you’re not risking the mortgage in a race of this nature.

Bread And Butter is being coaxed into form by Gavin Cromwell – good second at Gowran Park the last day – and Severus Alexander (taking good money this morning) could improve for the step up in trip on only his second start for the same stable.

Gordon Elliottt, going for a hat-trick in this race, runs only the grey Hell On Earth, who was a modest fifth when Bread And Butter was second to Lady McCabe at Gowran.

But Hell On Earth (9.2 BETDAQ offers) had finished in front of Lady McCabe at Fairyhouse earlier, when they were second and third in a field of 21. Depends what mood he’s in, then.

Despite being by Kayf Tara out of a Bob Back mare, Accidental Rebel has been kept to the minimum trip by Henry De Bromhead.

This first try over further should see some improvement, with the slower race hopefully helping his occasional lack of fluency.


⭕ 3.10 Downpatrick (Ulster National) The prestige of the race relies on its 2013 winner who then moved from Philip Fenton in Tipperary to Dr Richard Newland in England and captured the 2014 Grand National at Aintree. Name of Pineau de Re.

But there’s a bit of quality about today’s field, too. The last three winners raced off 107, 120 and 121.

None of them would have got into today’s line-up, not even as a reserve. Pineau De Re (rated 125) would have been right down the card, 14th of the 15.

Major contribution to quality today are the many engaged who would have been probables for the Irish National in early April.

Among them are Cheb De Kerviniou, General Principle, Ifyvoucatchmenow, Gun Digger, Out Sam, The Red Menace and last year’s Ulster National winner Amaulino (prefers top of the ground).

Gordon Elliott has won it twice in the last five years; last time in 2018 when Poormans Hill had stablemate Out Sam in third. Both run again today, but Poormans Hill hasn’t even reached the frame since that day and has been beaten a total of 279 lengths in his last five starts.

Out Sam stays all day and was third in the Cheltenham Cross-Country just 11 days ago (it seems like a life time since Cheltenham, with all that has ensued).

Out Sam pulled up in this Ulster National last year but banks racing might have given him a new lease of life, as it did Tiger Roll. Both were en route for Aintree.

It’s All Guesswork is a top-of-the-ground horse and Gun Digger is unlikely to keep his form from a quirky race over shorter the last day. Before that, he pulled up five times and fell once in eight races since the start of last year.

VALUE VERDICT: Cheb De Kerviniou at 6.6 and Out Sam at 13.5 on BETDAQ. Here’s my order in:

1 Cheb De Kerviniou must be my Gordon Elliott pick, after going close in top events several times. Third in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February and runner-up, tongue tied first time, in the Leinster National two weeks back, caught in the last few yards.

Biddy the Boss (first reserve) beat ‘Cheb’ at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day but is worse off at the weights and ‘Cheb’ looked as though today’s near-half-mile extra would have put him in front.

2 Out Sam Last-chance saloon for me.

3 Ifyoucatchmenow (Biddy The Boss) won that Punchestown trial but beat ‘Cheb’ only three lengths, receiving 10lb, and he gets just 2lb now. He is in the ‘three’ if Biddy The Boss doesn’t get into the race.

4 Jimmil is an improving stablemate of Biddy The Boss, saddled by Gavin Cromwell (say no more) and ridden by Jonathan Moore, who gave them all a lesson in jockeyship on My Newbrook Rose at Thurles yesterday.

Rockys Silver won the Amateur National at Punchestown in January but, like The Red Menace and Cappacurry Zak, failed over a marathon trip, and hunter-chasers like Coastal Tiep don’t usually translate the form from that discipline.


⭕ 3.40 Downpatrick Jessica Harrington’s runners in the last eight days backed in to around 3-1 have all done well. Returns, still standing: 12141, with winners at 11-4, 100-30 and 3-1.

The grey Whydah was backed with bookies overnight from 12-1 in places to 7-1, and is 8.7 second favourite in the BETDAQ orange as I write.

In contrast, Whydah has started 33-1 and 100-1 in his last three starts, but led until three out at Leopardstown over further, making a conspicuous drop back in trip today for his handicap debut.


2.40 Downpatrick (win 50, win 20)
BULL’S-EYE BET 1.4pts win and place FASSBENDER
BET 2.4pts win HELL ON EARTH

3.10 Downpatrick (win 50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 4pts win OUT SAM

3.40 Downpatrick (win 30)
BET 3.8pts win (nap) WHYDAH

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