CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN: TRAINERS-1 From Tuesday to Friday next week don’t miss Daqman’s Cheltenham daily stats that match the running of the races seven days in advance. But first, today and tomorrow, Daqman warns you to check out the trainers in form and, in part two on Monday, surveys the festival surprises and how to spot them.
TODAY: Daqman finds something to bet on at Huntingdon, Sedgefield and Leopardstown, with a watchful eye on stables in form.
CROMWELL’S ARMY RALLIES
There are two Cheltenhams. That’s what trainer ‘Duke’ Nicholson once told me: ‘I mean, the festival and the two weeks leading up to it when your results on the track and on the home gallops can warn you whether you’re doing things right and have a real chance in that week in March.’
Nicholson, who was actually allergic to the equine animal, through asthma and allergies, embraced them in other ways: a great horseman and a caring master.
Twice champion trainer, he won the Gold Cup (Charter Party), Champion Chase (Viking Flagship), Stayers Hurdle (Anzum), Triumph Hurdle (Solar Cloud and Mysilv), Arkle (Waterloo Boy) and others.
His assistant trainer for many years, Alan King, has already won the Champion Chase (Voy Por Ustedes), Champion Hurdle (Katchit), Stayers Hurdle (My Way De Solzen), Arkle (Voy Por Ustedes and My Way de Solzen), Triumph Hurdle (Penzance and Katchit), NH Chase (Old Benny and Midnight Prayer), Coral Cup (Medinas) and Grand Annual (Oh Crick).
King, who will saddle Edwardstone (in the Arkle), plus The Glancing Queen (doubly engaged) and Tritonic (County Hurdle) at this year’s festival, saw his North Lodge beaten a short-head for a major Kelso prize yesterday, and his current strike rate is only 1-26.
Paul Nicholls, who surged out of almost two months in the doldrums with 7-14, always likes to see something from his home track, Wincanton, in the week before Cheltenham.
He has Amenon, Sabrin, Tahmuras and Twin Power due to run there on Thursday next week.
You can usually reckon that among a trainer’s runners in the coming days will be a key work-horse that will raise hopes or disillusion about the yard’s Cheltenham contingent.
Nicky Richards is the northern trainer to follow after a hat-trick yesterday, and Fergal O’Brien warned of a revival at the right time with a double at Newbury, including Paint The Dream by 15 lengths in the Greatwood Gold Cup.
In Ireland, those who might have given up on Gavin Cromwell (after 1-32) saw him bounce back yesterday with a treble at Navan, two of them gambles.
Gavin, who has five runners today at Leopardstown and Wexford, and still has five left in at Leopardstown tomorrow, is due to saddle Flooring Porter and Vanillier at Cheltenham among others.
I pick that pair out of his team because they won the Stayers Hurdle and and the Albert Bartlett at last year’s festival! Daqman was on both at 12-1 and 14-1 respectively. Watch this space!
HUGHES BOOKING INTRIGUE
⭕ 1.00 Sedgefield Bay Of Intrigue (BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE 5.3) has only his second start for Fergal O’Brien, after being runner-up three weeks back following a long break since he switched from Tom Symonds yard.
Fergal, who has five runners engaged at Huntingdon, sends Bay of Intrigue on a lone mission to Sedgefield and books Brian Hughes, fresh from a double at Kelso yesterday which gave him 172 winners for the season for £1.5m earnings.
⭕ 1.45 Huntingdon On the dam’s side, Chambard is related to a Welsh National winner but, though he currently has a form sequence of 1221, his returns beyond 2m 4f are 00.
Barnaviddaun is PUU5 when raced beyond 2m4f, since coming over from Ireland. So I think Storm Arising can win, if he puts them under pressure. He is Paul Nicholls only runner today.
Storm Arising’s moderate form has come during the doldrums at Ditcheat, and he can bounce back here, already a winner at today’s trip on the soft. BETDAQ 2.56
⭕ 4.05 Huntingdon Gary Moore, who landed a hat-trick across three meetings on the second day of the month, has a huge record at Huntingdon – 63 winners – and Age Of Wisdom (BETDAQ 4.1) should be ready now after two runs back this year from a long lay-off.
He’s been running over 2m mostly but his best form was at 3m or so on deep ground. He steps up in trip again today, with the cheekpieces back on, down 12lb in the handicap.
HE’S NOT A DONKEY AT 13.0
⭕ 4.50 Leopardstown I promised myself I’d give Fakir d’Alene another chance after a mistake cost him the Grade A Leopardstown Chase at the Dublin Festival.
Fakir returns to the track as if to redeem himself for that day after back-to-back wins over the turn of the year at Down Royal and Thurles.
But shouldn’t we pin the tail to the donkey and go in with blind confidence in the form of another runner from the Thurles race.
Fakir d’Alene tried to make all that day in January but was lucky to beat Donkey Years a neck, after a bit of a bumping match in the final stages of the race.
Donkey Years (BETDAQ 13.0) will be 10lb better off today and could be a winner for J P McManus. Owners like some encouragement before the battle of Cheltenham, too, you know.
Noel Meade, who has 24 still in at the festival, has six runners today, with Jerandme (BETDAQ 6.5) well backed for this Grade B chase this morning; Bryan Cooper up.
Meade’s just had three winners and three more placed from his last dozen starters, and has struck at Cheltenham with winners at 80-1 and 33-1 in the last few years; more about that tomorrow.
1.00 Sedgefield (win 10)
BET 2.5pts win BAY OF INTRIGUE
1.45 Huntingdon (win 10, nap)
BET 6pts win STORM ARISING
4.05 Huntingdon (win 10)
BET 3pts win AGE OF WISDOM
4.50 Leopardstown (win 12)
BET 2pts win JERANDME
BET 1pt win DONKEY YEARS
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.