HORSE-BY-HORSE SPOTLIGHT GOING FOR A NATIONAL DOUBLE: Daqman loves a National. He last week landed the one-two in the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen, with the winner, Who’s In The Box (WON 7-1 from 13.0 on BETDAQ). And he struck in today’s Sussex National at Plumpton last year (Christmas In April WON 9-2). He analyses every runner in the Plumpton renewal today.
BULL’S-EYE FLUTTERS AFTER IBLEO LANDS YESTERDAY’S NAP: It’s a day when he fancies a flutter with bull’s-eye bets to win 50 points, , after two more winners yesterday, including his nap:
WON 7-4 METIER
WON 13-8 IBLEO (nap)
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE NATIONAL
⭕ 2.25 Plumpton (Sussex National) STATS: Young horses of seven and eight have won it in the last four years, and the strike rate for those over the age of nine is only 1-10. Winning weights are all over 11st in last six seasons.
1: Seaston Spirit Four wins in a row still standing, raising his game from class 4 by 27lb to a 125 rating for this. Already winner over a marathon trip at Taunton in March, scored first run back in November, so no worries about a mere 56 days’ absence.
2: Benevolentdictator Back-to-back soft-heavy wins in the autumn, including here, and goes well fresh. A big staying type, he is now stepped up in trip for a race his trainer, Gary Moore, won two years running (2013-14).
* BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE 7.3 Seaston Spirit and 7.9 Benevolentdictator
3: Defi des Carres Three times a cross-country scorer on soft-heavy ground in France, made British debut in the Glenfarclas Cheltenham banks race in December, beaten just a short-head by Some Neck. Interesting to see him here, dropped to regulation fences on this tricky track.
4: Goodnight Charlie Grey Midnight Legend mare, with very little form in the last year or more after a 19lb rise for winning at Warwick (3m 5f) and Cheltenham in the Spring of 2019. Back down to her old rating now.
5: Salty Boy Has not won a race in more than two years and is 0-9 over fences but ran excellent third for new yard in the Tommy Whittle in first-time cheekpieces. Could go on from there, now stepped up again in trip.
Dawson City We hadn’t seen much of the horse that won two Devon Nationals back to back (2018-19) until beaten only a head on the same Exeter course the last day. Runner-up in this race four years ago, he’s turned 12 now.
Bermeo Up more than a stone last year as he progressed from class-5 win at Uttoxeter in July to class 3 at Cheltenham in November. Runner-up over today’s CD more than two years back.
Special Acceptance Despite losing run of 15, favourite when off the mark on today’s course last month. His longest trip to date in first-time cheekpieces did the trick. Will they work again?
Rathlin Rose Nearly two years since he won a veterans’ race at Ascot. Second on the last day, down a stone in the weights, his only good run in between was third in today’s race last year off a 5lb higher mark. Now 13.
Cheque En Blanc An autumn horse, beating Bermeo over CD in 2018, taking the same race the following November and scoring in the same month at Fontwell last year. Up in class today.
Sackett Pulled up three times in four races in the last 14 months. Dropped 11lb but solitary chase success (1-11) and pulled up this race last season.
Like The Sound Winner of the Somerset National (2019) at Wincanton for Charlie Mann, has dropped back to a winning mark since joining new Lambourn trainer, Oliver Signy, but wind ops and cheekpieces need to make a major change. He’s currently picking up parking tickets, with his last three runs PP-P.
IT’S STILL IN THE CRISTAL BALL
⭕ 3.28 Plumpton Half a dozen of these have just had birthdays in double figures, among them Definite Winner, an early punt in this race.
The mare’s trainer, Simon Hodgson, hooked a first prize on the Flat just before Christmas but, as her fourth handler, he’s taken on an indefinite article here.
She has not even placed in 10 starts since winning in 2019 on good and firm ground, so age, form and the conditions seem to be against her.
Shimba Hills, two out of three at the end of last season, was way back on his reappearance, and trainer Lawney Hill hasn’t had a winner for 146 days.
Another trainer just had success on the Flat is Jim Boyle, who landed a massive gamble with Cristal Spirit over the sticks at Fontwell earlier last month.
Highway One stayed on fourth behind the winner that day but, on 1-31, is likely to flatter again and Call off The Dogs, who scored on the same day as Cristal Spirit, could be the main danger.
But Cristal Spirit (BETDAQ 3.5) is still 21lb lower than his original handicap mark, with Sean Houlihan’s claim included, and he won over a similar trip in heavy ground at Lingfield when breaking his maiden a class higher.
GARDEN PLOT FOR HOT McCAIN
⭕ 3.37 Catterick Donald McCain landed a hat-trick at Musselburgh yesterday. Everything in the garden’s rosy!
And The Herds Garden has had a win and a second in two runs at Catterick from two runs, both times ridden by Brian Hughes, who returns to take charge today. BETDAQ 7.2.
Aronius is favourite on the principle of the ‘three runs and hit’ point of entry into handicap company.
But he has absolutely nothing else going for him, except for the potential of a Skelton runner and some old winning form in 2018 on the Flat in the French provinces.
It would have to be a dark’un indeed to come to this and win after SPs of 28-1 and 50-1 in hurdles races he’s lost by a total of 106 lengths, after pulling up on his English debut.
Garde Forestier twice placed in a visor in the autumn after sliding 17lb down the handicap since a Wincanton win in 2017.
2.25 Plumpton (win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 8pts win SEASTON SPIRIT
BULL’S-EYE BET: 7.25pts win BENEVOLENTDICTATOR
3.28 Plumpton (win 10, nap)
BET 4pts win CRISTAL SPIRIT
3.37 Catterick (win 10)
BET 1.6pts win THE HERDS GARDEN
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