LET THE BETDAQ VALUE SEARCH BEGIN: Daqman today goes in search of some Cheltenham pocket-money for his BETDAQ wallet, with big-race bets at Huntingdon (18.5 offers) and Leopardstown (8.4) and a 6.0 nap at Ffos Las.
CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN EVERY DAY: Look out next week for day-by-day stats analysis and preview of the four-day Cheltenham Festival, starting tomorrow
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, SCU
⭕ 3.35 Huntingdon (John Bigg ‘Oxo’ Handicap Chase) It’s only just sunk in! Tom Scudamore has stunned the Jumps racing world in England by announcing his retirement.
If he’d stayed for a few seasons more, his 1,499 winners could well have overtaken his father Peter’s career total of 1,678, and he never did win the National or the Gold Cup.
But today at Huntingdon we are reminded of how much the sport owes the Scudamore dynasty of jockeys.
The race celebrates the 1959 Grand National, won by John Bigg’s eight-year-old Oxo, trained by Willie Stephenson and ridden by Tom’s grandfather, Michael.
In 2021, Michael Scudamore trained the winner of this memorial race at Huntingdon, Copper Coin, ridden by Tom.
It’s almost like nothing changes in this game, even in the National. The names are the same among the horses, too. Stamina in the breed of horse, trainer and jockey survives the generations.
Placed behind Oxo in his winning year were Wyndburgh (2nd) and Tiberetta (4th), who had both been placed twice before, and the third home was Mr What (Vincent O’Brien), who had won the Aintree marathon the year before!
So, if you fancy last year’s 1-2-3 to get in the frame again, remember it’s the norm in this race.
Noble Yeats (second Any Second Now and third Delta Work) could emulate Tiger Roll, the 2018 and 2019 winner, as living proof on April 15. Last year’s 1-2-3 are three of the front six in the market this time around.
Form: As for today’s Oxo Chase, Bryony Frost, who rides Will Sting, is the daughter of Jimmy Frost, who won the 1989 Grand National on Little Polveir.
The runner-up, West Tip, had won the 1986 National and finished fourth in both 1987 and 1988.
In today’s race, Paddy’s Poem is trained at Findon by Nicky Gifford, whose father, Josh Gifford, four-times champion jockey, trained Aldaniti to win the 1981 National, ridden by Bob Champion.
Josh was born at Huntingdon, and let that be full circle of the Oxo Chase story today, though the music goes round and round, seemingly has no end.
Today’s Oxo gravy? Dibble Decker is a CD winner, achieved in January in first-time cheekpieces but will they work again?
Will Sting, a son of Scorpion (ouch!), won a chase a few days later. He had started life winning a bumper on today’s course.
Though 12 now, Nicky Gifford’s Paddy’s Poem has won over the course and also over the distance.
He’s scored when fresh before and he’s been given a chance by the handicapper, dropped 20lb since his salad days, when he produced a run of 3312112231, concluding two years back.
In that run of success, Paddy’s Poem raced twice ‘at home’ at Huntingdon for Team Gifford, with James Davies in the saddle. Ran two; won two.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 18.5 Paddy’s Poem (win and place)
TEAM THAT’S UPPING THE ANTI
⭕ 4.55 Leopardstown (Carrickmines Chase) Birchdale won here in February 2022 and has dropped back close to that mark, despite a fine fourth in the Leopardstown Chase at the anniversary meeting last month.
Panda Boy has a similar profile in that he produced a huge run the last day, third in the big Christmas chase at Leopardstown, though that was over 3m.
Ground and trip are as if designed for the comeback of Upping The Anti, who won two out of two last Spring and summer after breaks.
Trainer Henry De Bromhead is this week sorting 53 entries for Cheltenham, where he and jockey Rachael Blackmore were so dominant in 2021.
Upping The Anti is exactly what is needed if Henry is to improve on his Cheltenham total of 15 winners so far, and that best-ever six hit two years back. BETDAQ value 8.4
Today’s nap: Hungry Hill (2.45 Ffos Las) takes a significant rise in trip with an equally significant jockey booking (Nick Schofield 2-2 for Jonjo O‘Neill) and with an absolute-let-off handicap debut mark. BETDAQ 6.0.
2.45 Ffos Las (win 20 nap)
BET 4pts win HUNGRY HILL
3.35 Huntingdon (win-20 total)
BET 1pt win and place PADDYS POEM
4.55 Leopardstown (win 20)
BET 2.75pts win UPPING THE ANTI
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