DAQMAN’S TOTAL TRIUMPH IN THE TROPHY: After three seconds and a third on the Ladbrokes’ card at Newbury yesterday, the inimitable Daqman came good where it mattered, adding yet another big race to his CV, the ex-Hennessy Ladbrokes Trophy with Total Recall (WON 9-2), who got up to win in the last few strides.

HE TAKES 38-POINT LEAD OVER PRICEWISE: It took him within an ace of winner number 500 over Pricewise, who is said to lead 200 experts on the Racing Post. Instead Daqman leads him 6-1 this NH season, with 499 wins in nine seasons. A single-unit stake sees Daqman currently in profit by 23.50, with Pricewise down 14.50, so a 38-point gap. Today: 1.00, 2.05, 2.35 and 3.10 Fairyhouse

2-2 FOR A ‘FIGHTING’ NEWCASTLE DOUBLE: Outside the contest, Daqman’s big-race surge continued at Newcastle with 2-2 there when Buveur d’Air won the Fighting Fifth and Beware The Bear the Rehearsal Chase. The winning trio:

WON 9-2 TOTAL RECALL (Ladbrokes Trophy)
WON 11-4 BEWARE THE BEAR (Rehearsal Chase, 6.0 on BETDAQ)
WON 1-6 BUVEUR D’AIR (Fighting Fifth for Daq Multiples)


I broke three betting rules in one race yesterday. I: Don’t follow the money unless value remains. 2: Don’t tangle with J P McManus. 3: If connections have two runners, you have to back both.

This is how it happened in the Grade-B chase at Fairyhouse, a story which has more than one explanation and may yet have another punchline.

De Name Escapes Me was backed in from 11.5 to 7.4 in the BETDAQ orange (see my story yesterday).

The race finished with him fronting the in-running market; good headway and threatening between the last two fences, faded right out (12th). Owner: J P McManus.

Same race. Nearly Namad drifted (from 8-1 to 20-1) like a lonely dog on a raft. But ‘headway on the inner; pushed clear run-in’. Owner: J P McManus.


1.00 Fairyhouse (Royal Bond Novice Hurdle) Is there a conclusion to all that about multiple acceptors, Daqman? Not in this race there ain’t!

You have three McManus versus three Gigginstown in this first of three Grade-1 events at Fairyhouse.

Serve ’em right, if they all lost out to Willie Mullins’ lone contender, the grey Makitori, who would give him his eighth Royal Bond, the last three consecutively.

Mullin’s most memorable winner was Hurricane Fly (2008), his overall career overshadowed only by the unmistakable Istabraq (1996).

He fears that Makitori doesn’t have the experience for this, after just the one run, one win, by 18 lengths, first time over hurdles. But four winners in the decade had previously run only once (two of them) or twice (two).

But it’s a big ask against the likes of Mengli Khan (Gordon Elliott for Gigginstown), whose Navan win in November came over four previous winners.

Le Richebourg (Joseph O’Brien for J P McManus and the choice of Barry Geraghty) beat three earlier scorers when completing his hurdles hat-trick at the Galway Festival.

VERDICT: Le Richebourg was the early value this morning at 5.5 on BETDAQ to beat Mengli Khan and Makitorix.


1.30 Fairyhouse (Hattons Grace Hurdle) Enter the Wylies (Nichols Canyon) into this Fairyhouse field of the cloth of gold against Gigginstown, which relies on last year’s winner, Apple’s Jade.

Because Nichols Canyon has raced at 2m and 3m in his senior career, and Apple’s Jade has concentrated on the middle distance of 2m 4f in the last year, there is little or no collateral form between them.

There is also age difference (Apple’s Jade has two years on Nichols Canyon) and a weight difference of 7lb in favour of the younger horse.

VERDICT: I add that together as ‘previous winner at a specialist trip with scope for improvement can win this again with the mare’s allowance’. Apple’s Jade.

2.05 Fairyhouse Now it’s Willie Mullins’ turn to swamp the punter with a choice that’s no choice at all. He runs four!

His most helpful comment on the race is that Meri Devie ‘is a filly we have a lot of time for.’

She is now hooded. A 7.8 chance, according to BETDAQ layers playing the orange as I write.

Ben Dundee has taken front rank in the betting grid and, on form lines with Charlie Stout and David’s Charm, Highland Fling looks well in and value for 18.5 offers.


2.35 Fairyhouse (Drinmore Novice Chase) Here we go again: Elliott 3, Mullins 2, and we haven’t kicked off yet!

Elliott is hoping that Death Duty will follow in the hoofprints of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack (2013), one of his three previous winners of this.

Normally, you’d mark down a nine-year-old but Rathvinden (Mullins) is very lightly raced and, on lines through The West’s Awake and Tout Et Permis, is clear of Death Duty.

Dinaria Des Obeaux has exploited her allowances to win as she likes but beat nothing well, and has to make a big leap here.

VERDICT: Rathvinden’s 4.8 over 1.86 Death Duty is plain wrong on the form but not on the favourite’s reputation.

3.10 Fairyhouse The 2015 and 2016 winners, Bless The Wings and Forever Gold, are a double-figure age now, and last year’s runner-up, Thunder And Roses, is from a stable currently out of form.

Presenting Percy takes a big step up in trip and Mall Dini is 0-7 over fences. It’s a hard race.

I’ll take a chance on Undressed, a bit of naked aggression – at 19.5 on BETDAQ – against the layers. He’s the only one I could find with a pedigree that marks him down for a marathon trip like this.

DAQMAN AT FAIRYHOUSE (staked to win 20 points at BETDAQ offers unless otherwise stated)
1.00 BET 4.4pts win LE RICHEBOURG and (win 10) 5.6pts win MENGLI KHAN
1.30 Supernap at SP: BET 20pts win APPLE’S JADE
2.05 BET 3pts win and place MERI DEVIE, and 1.25pts win and place HIGHLAND FLING
2.35 BET 5pts win RATHVINDEN
3.10 BET 1pt win and place UNDRESSED

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