WINNER-A-DAY SEQUENCE NOW REACHES 18 DAYS: Daqman had to wait until the last yesterday, an 8.15 maiden in the wind and rain of darkest Wolverhampton, to continue his proud sequence of a winner or more every single day for 18 days, now totalling 37 returns.
PROSPECT OF MORE TO COME IN EARLY-BIRD RACES: The saviour had not even raced before! But Global Prospector (won 3-1) scored with such authority that he goes straight onto the Early Birds for the Flat horses-to-follow list.
WE’RE LOOKING FOR A GRAND NATIONAL OUTSIDER: Today Daqman maps out his Spring campaign, the days after Cheltenham with its bruising battles won and lost. All next week: is there a Grand National outsider to match the 12-1 and 16-1 championship heroes at Cheltenham?
BAD APPLES AND THISTLES CRACKED
Cheltenham was the best of times and the worst of times. Tragedy and absurd administration, but courage in the equine athlete and the jockey, with not one but two Grade-1 wins for the girls, Rachael Blackmore and Bryony Frost.
Training skills came to confirmation in the Prestbury Park arena for new kids on the block like Gavin Cromwell and Joseph O’Brien. A blind owner has one of the new champions, Paisley Park.
As in English politics, there was blind administration of muddled justice and petty power that divides and misrules. But the totally sightless in the two main events were punters.
I’ve gone back through the Racing Posts, the old Sporting Life and the yellowing Chronicle that serves as lining for my socks drawer, but I can’t find such turn-ups as a 12-1 Gold Cup win and 16-1 Champion Hurdler, where the runners-up are 20-1 and 22-1, the third horses home 80-1 and 18-1.
Bad year? No, the also-rans were deemed to be champions: Buveur d’Air, Apple’s Jade, Laurina; Native River, Clan des Obeaux, Presenting Percy, Thistlecrack.
If some Haruspex had told me that NONE of them would even be placed, I would have said: You’re having a laugh, aren’t you!
Now punters will look at Lincoln and National with well-thumbed form books thrown out of the window. Bookies might even refrain: who needs FOBTs anyway!
Here’s the programme for the Springtime sport and why I hope to stay on top (how Daqman managed to bag 13 Cheltenham returns and Shamrock a 6-1 nap must be a platform for the punting to come).
➡️ NEXT WEEK (March 18-24): Grand National ante-post: the value, the top horses and, yes, the outsiders to look out for.
➡️ LINCOLN WEEK (March 25-31): Lincoln Handicap week with Early Bird horses, betting strategies and ABC guide.
➡️ NATIONAL WEEK: (April 1-6): The Aintree meeting with daily analysis and Grand National stats-and-facts guides.
➡️ SPRING FEVER: More Nationals (Fairyhouse and Ayr) and more championship races (Punchestown). Plus Flat-season Fortune Cookies with the Classics in mind that made 1,017 points last season.
Surely, there was one common denominator in the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle surprises? Ah yes, both were trained in Ireland, of course. Watch this space!
WESTERN HAS HAD FESTIVAL BOOST
2.35 Limerick (Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle) Ruby Walsh landed a Klassical Dream (Supreme Novice Hurdle), then had a Cheltenham nightmare.
And he may not be back as cock robin here with his mount a winner only on a sound surface. Otherwise Robin De Carlow, with back-to-back Listed wins in the autumn, deserves top rating in this Grade 3.
But his 134 mark is eaten away by penalties and Sapphire Lady, too, is left giving weight to Moskovite, Western Victory et al.
Moskovite looks strong for a trainer in form. Already a Grade-3 third, when yet another Cheltenham turn-up (50-1 in the Albert Bartlett) was second. Before that, easy wins in big fields at different trips.
Honeysuckle could be key. She was receiving 9lb when beating Moskovite 12 lengths in November, though giving 2lb when slamming Western Victory six lengths in January.
But, hold on, third that day, 11 lengths behind Western Victory was Tintangle, subsequently a close third in the Mares Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. I took 4.4 on BETDAQ
ROCK LIKES THE SOFT CONDITIONS
3.50 Carlisle Houblon Des Obeaux has already won a quality veterans’ chase at Sandown this year but has never liked heavy ground, and this card has only just survived an inspection, I’m told.
Takingrisks has won mainly in small fields, twice on heavy, but is unreliable like Straidnahanna, who was behind Rock On Fruity, who has won three chases on the soft, and might come out best again in these conditions.
BETDAQ 7.4 in the wake of a run on Jepeck, an easy winner at ffos Las, who ran well in the Devon National over further but is only 1-11 over fences.
4.15 Limerick Five-wins-in-a-row Missy Tata, once fourth in the Fred Winter, returned after 777 days off to score at Fairyhouse in February as if nothing had happened.
She has a way to go over fences to match her hurdles rating of 143 but that was 20lb in front of Redhotfillypeppers’ mark. Unlike Missy Tata, ‘Peppers’ failed at Graded and Listed level, though could be a better chaser.
2.35 Limerick (win 20)
BET 5.75pts win WESTERN VICTORY
3.50 Carlisle (win 20, win 10)
BET 3pts win ROCK ON FRUITY
BET 5pts win JEPECK
4.15 Limerick (supernap)
BET 20pts win MISSY TATA
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