HEAVY GOING IN IRELAND: With Sunday’s card at Carlisle a victim of the weather DAQMAN heads to Ireland for two bets and also has a recommendation at Chelmsford on Sunday.


Smart or what! The longer he waited to run again, the more Cracking Smart’s reputation has risen. Today he must put it on the line in equine person at Navan.

Both the Ballymore (2m 5f) and the Albert Bartlett (3m) are currently pencilled in by Gordon Elliott for the Cheltenham Festival.

He won over 2m 4f at Punchestown from Shady Operator, who quickly turned out again to beat 22 others and break his maiden in style at Cork.

The third horse, Silver Concorde, did the same trick at Musselburgh, slamming the field in his maiden by six lengths.

Cracking Smart was even better at Cork over 3m, soon clear, impressive, over Robin De Foret, who was being foiled for a hat-trick with, in third, Fabulous Saga, who followed up in a Group 3 at Cork by 70 lengths from the 11-lengths Thurles winner, Burren Life. The collateral catalogue continues to this day.

Now here’s the needle match (12.50 Navan), Cracking Smart taking on Willie Mullins’ Next Destination, 13-lengths winner at Naas in November, supported by his Gordon Elliott team-mate Poli Roi. Delta Work, the third intended Elliott runner is now an absentee.

But the key form guide for the future should come from another of today’s rivals, Jetz, runner-up here at Navan in November to the current Ballymore favourite, Samcro.

But not to worry! Samcro is also trained by Godon Elliott. So this could simply be an exercise in dividing two big Cheltenham purses between two big stable stars.

Will Samcro’s star still shine brightest after today or will my horse-to-follow, Cracking Smart, become the one for the smart money?

I have saved a complete update until tomorrow, hoping to take Cracking Smart from my horses-to-follow list straight into the Fortune Cookies elite. Watch this space.


2.10 Thurles David Mullins was on a 70 length winner for the stable last Sunday and a 58 length winner yesterday – he’s losing his touch!

There’s every chance that True Self could be another wide margin today in this Listed event.

She has won all three of her starts since joining the stable and crucially seems to enjoy the soft ground. She has gone off odds-on in all three of her wins and will be a short price again today, even allowing for this step-up in class. She is outside the threshold of my SUPERNAP criteria at the time of writing but is a confident nap.

Dawn Shadow looks the danger but she finished behind the selection in a bumper at Down Royal.

3.25 Chelmsford Glenn Coco made all to win well over course and distance last time out and may well be good enough under his 7lb penalty.

The grey bids for his third win in four starts and can see off the challenge from Lagenda who may just find this trip stretching his stamina.

3.30 Navan All change in this race as the unbeaten Felix Desjy is now a non runner but Gordon Elliott could still pick up the prize to give him a hat-trick in the race.

If previous winners of this are anything to go by, the race really does produce A-list horses. Death Duty won it in 2015 and last year the hugely exciting Samcro won.

Rapid Escape has won his last two bumpers in good style and was particularly impressive at Punchestown last time out but at the revised price (around 1.19 on BETDAQ) it’s a race to watch for future clues.

DAQMAN’S BETS (Staked as advised):
BET (to win 20) 7.1pts win CRACKING SMART (12.50 Navan)
BET 15pts win (nap) TRUE SELF (2.10 Thurles)
BET (to win 15) 10.8pts win GLEN COCO (3.25 Chelmsford)

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