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THREE-DAY BIG-RACE FEAST STARTS WITH DAQMAN’S PREVIEWS: Daqman today preps the punter for the weekend big-race scene, starting with the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle tomorrow and on to a trio of Grade-1 tests at Fairyhouse on Sunday. In between is the Ladbrokes Trophy on Saturday, for which you have a horse-by-horse ABC guide, published yesterday (see Daqman Archive).

HOT-GAMBLE POPMASTER LANDS THE NAP DESPITE SLOW START: Daqman napped an even-money winner on BETDAQ yesterday. Popmaster (WON 4-11) was the medium of a gamble and came through to win well at Kempton but not before being slowly away and easy to back early in running, when in rear.


⭕ 3.00 Newbury, tomorrow (Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle) Paul Nicholls, who dominated this race with a Big Buck’s hat-trick (2010-2) among four winners in a row in the decade, will throw McFabulous in at the deep end tomorrow.

McFabulous steps out of the novice ranks and up in trip to take on last year’s winner, Paisley Park, and the current Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle champion, Lisnagar Oscar.

McFabulous was listed in my Fortune Cookies ‘early birds’ prior to winning the Persian War at Chepstow early last month.

He is one of five Cookies to stake a claim this weekend, including another Nicholls hurdler bidding for glory, Thyme White, in the Gerry Fielden, Saturday (now the Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle).

Then it’s on to a Grade-1 triple of major tests at Fairyhouse on Sunday, including two top novice events.

⭕ 1.05 Fairyhouse, Sunday (Royal Bond Novice Hurdle) Launchpad of such as Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and, last year, Envoi Allen.

You need a youngster aged four, five or six maximum (25 out of 26), trained by Willie Mullins (7), Noel Meade (3) or Gordon Elliottt (2), and those same trainers have nine of the 11 probables on Sunday!


⭕ 1.35 Fairyhouse, Sunday (Drinmore Novice Chase) Don Cossack (2013) was the ace among five winners in the decade for Gordon Elliott, whose hold on the race was broken in dramatic manner last year by Joseph O’Brien when the Elliott favourite, Samcro, fell two out.

On Sunday, Gordon Elliott (4) and Joseph O’Brien (3) are the only stables represented.

FORTUNE COOKIES: Easywork, Envoi Allen

⭕ 2.35 Fairyhouse, Sunday (Hattons Grace Hurdle) Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, Apple’s Jade are just a taste of the talent that’s won this.

Leading trainers, of course: Gordon Elliott (3) and Willie Mullins (3). Last year’s winner, Honeysuckle, is among nine probables, and reckoned better than ever at home.


⭕ 1.41 Taunton today It’s Pasley, not Paisley, at the top of this hurdles handicap, and the old question? Do I have enough confidence in Jonjo O’Neill, or in this case plural, the Jonjo O’Neills, senior and junior, trainer and jockey?

Pasley must be top of the shop for a reason, and it seems to be that the Irish handicapper got excited about three consecutive big-field-hurdle seconds towards the end of last year, after Pasley had scored on the Flat.

He’s having his second run for Jonjo after leaving Joseph O’Brien, and now carries the colours of J P McManus.

As it stands, Pasley has yet to score over the sticks but, at the same time, I’ve also yet to find a hurdles winner trained Charles Hills, so I won’t be rushing to back High Change.

The same applies to Peckinpah (0-15): no rush. Maybe John Constable can put a brush stroke through 27 consecutive defeats? No rush.

So it’s come back, Jonjo, all is forgiven.I took 15.0 taken Pasley on BETDAQ Betting Exchange.


⭕ 2.41 Taunton Class 3, so probably the best race of the day but a big field, which was top heavy. The leading five in the handicap were only 4lb apart.

I use the past tense because allowances have changed all that. On a sound surface, you don’t expect something low-weighted to run down a fast pace but, in fact, no fewer than EIGHT claimers are being used.

With so many trying to make a difference, maybe Dave And Bernie (BETDAQ 6.0) can continue his good run under Tom O’Brien, whose judgment has been impeccable on Coole Cody and Crossley Tender in recent days. Unexposed at today’s distance.

Sheshoon Sonny (BETDAQ 6.0) was put to a trip too far on his handicap bow at Sandown but was not disgraced and looks well pitched into this.

Chantecler was disappointing at Wincanton, stepped up to this grade with an overall 17lb rise for back-to-back wins in class 4.

Tight Call also dipped when put up to class 2 but returned to form dropped back down a couple of grades at Ludlow. Air Horse One, Calva d’Auge and Nordic Combined all seem to need rain.


⭕ 3.03 Lingfield Windswept Girl was put in her place by Elle Est Belle at Aintree and her trainer, Anthony Honeyball, has dropped below par (now 1-13).

Top-of-the-form (3-6) is Sam Thomas, who has an 80% strike rate at Lingfield when Sam Twiston-Davies rides.

Sam and Sam were pleased with the prepping of La Reine Poutine in bumpers, knowing that she has become a smart jumper of hurdles at home since then. BETDAQ 4.3.

⭕ 6.00 Chelmsford Australis has been working well since down the field in the Cesarewitch. A course winner in a poor field here, he was paying ‘10 will get you 9’ this morning, just a shade of odds on in the BETDAQ Sportsbook. Nap.


1.41 Taunton (win 20 Sportsbook, place win 5 Exchange)
BET 1.4pts win and 2.6pts place PASLEY

2.41 Taunton (win 20)

3.03 Lingfield (win 10)

6.00 Chelmsford (win 10)
BET 10pts win (nap) AUSTRALIS

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