Reading Time: 5 mins

SEE HOW THEY WON: SPOT THE ACE IN THE PACK: Today Daqman highlights the best in each Classic year this century, the paths taken by the superstars, and asks where this year’s ace will emerge: the ‘Ascot Derby’, Irish Derby, Eclipse or King George? Next week he traces the results of each race at Royal Ascot as a starter to your ante-post bets. Where do the winners come from?

LOOK OUT FOR DAQMAN NAP RUNNING TONIGHT: Racing has been poor class this week so far, but perks up a bit in quality today and Daqman is hoping to make headlines:



Where is the ace in the pack? Only once in the 20 years of this century has there been a poor year when no horse has done double or treble in the great racing arena of Derbys, King George, Arc de Triomphe and Breeders Cup or spread his dominance over two seasons.

So it’s very long odds on that we’ll find a star in class of 2019, almost certainly a colt but, as my table shows, one filly – Enable – has won King George, two Arcs and a Breeders Cup, and another – Treve – landed an Arc hat-trick.

The Epsom Derby was a thriller but left us with more questions than it answered. How good were five colts separated by only threeparts of a length, when will they be tested again and who will emerge from the pack, the ace among so many picture cards?

June 21: King Edward V11 Stakes The ‘Ascot Derby’ is usually the poor relation, a royal consolation at best, but could have a decent winner this year, as it did with the late developer Nathaniel (2011).

The race could attract one of the Epsom Five because connections will be wanting to take different routes, so as to build their reputation instead of staking it so soon on success, or defeat, by the same Epsom Derby mob at the Curragh.

June 29: Irish Derby The Curragh Classic recently has more the reputation of bringing forward a star not quite ready to shine at Epsom: Treasure Beach (2011), second at Epsom won the Irish Derby; Jack Hobbs (2015), second at Epsom won the Irish Derby; Capri (2017), sixth at Epsom won at the Irish Derby.

July 6: Coral-Eclipse Stakes It could be argued that the Eclipse route is best, though at 1m 2f it used to be considered the non-stayers passage. But Sea The Stars, Nathaniel and Golden Horn all won at Sandown, which just shows what a solid option it is.

July 27: King George V1 Stakes Another possible route, which provides a break after English or Irish Derby, has been a kingmaker for the Arc and the Breeders Cup.

In the next two weeks, Fortune Cookies will reveal my pick of the Epsom Five. Here are the paths to glory taken by the great and the good of the last 20 years, in date order with their ratings at left.

128 SINNDAR 2000 Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and Arc de Triomphe
130 GALILEO 2001 Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and King George
126 HIGH CHAPARRAL 2002 Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and Breeders Cup, 2003 Breeders Cup
129 DALAKHANI 2003 French Derby and Arc
126 HURRICANE RUN 2005 Irish Derby and Arc, 2006 King George
128 DYLAN THOMAS 2006 Irish Derby, 2007 King George and Arc
125 CONDUIT 2008 St Leger and Breeders Cup, 2009 Breeders Cup
135 SEA THE STARS 2009 Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes and Arc
125 WORKFORCE 2010 Epsom Derby and Arc
126 NATHANIEL 2011 King Edward V11 Stakes and King George, 2012 Eclipse Stakes
128 DANEDREAM 2011 Arc, 2012 King George
118 CAMELOT 2012 Epsom Derby and Irish Derby
126 TREVE 2013 French Oaks and Arc, 2014 Arc, 2015 Arc
127 AUSTRALIA 2014 Epsom Derby and Irish Derby
130 GOLDEN HORN 2015 Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes and Arc
121 HARZAND 2016 Epsom Derby and Irish Derby
123 HIGHLAND REEL 2016 King George and Breeders Cup
125 ENABLE 2017 Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George and Arc, 2018 Arc and Breeders Cup.

* The 2019 Epsom Derby Five (order in): Anthony Van Dyck, Madhmoon, Japan, Broome, Sir Dragonet.


3.30 Hamilton The soft-heavy ground sets up a return contest between Sands Of Mali, Donjuan Triumphant and Brando, who were winner, third and fourth on the soft in the British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

The result was a 28-1 shock, with Sands Of Mali stepping up on his luckless Ascot effort when beaten half a length for the Commonwealth Cup at the royal meeting.

Until he finally got his reward in the Ascot race, Mali had been an enigma, with connections scratching their heads as to why he hadn’t delivered big time before.

He’s had a run back this season and, at age four, could be ready for a great season, with the Diamond Jubilee later in the month as his first main target.

I hear that Brando will swerve Ascot for the July Cup. It’s never been a happy hunting ground for him (returns on the Berkshire track: 2304), and he’s been struggling for form at Group level since he won the Abernant for the second time on his reappearance last year.

This time around he fluffed his seasonal debut, only third going for a repeat in the Abernant. Last year’s victory was his sole home success since a handicap, the Ayr Gold Cup, in September, 2016, and he’s something to prove now.

Before his third in the Champions Sprint, Donjuan Triumphant had run well on heavy, fourth in the Haydock Sprint, but he’s won just the once – in a Listed – since September, 2017.


3.50 Ripon The ground is iffy for Garden Oasis, Universal Gleam and the claimed-off Stealth Fighter, all of them up in the weights. Fayez (holds Just Hiss) is now plenty high enough.

Waarif likes a bit of cut, has won at Ripon and is still well handicapped, despite his 5lb penalty; the one stall is a worry. Mr Top Hat’s poor strike rate makes it unlikely that he’ll follow up a win

The one I like is Mick Halford’s big-field Leopardstown winner, Cockalorum, a BETDAQ 7.4 shot here, now with Roger Fell, who has had eight winners in the last fortnight. Goes well fresh and the surface is fine as long as not too much rain (it’s forecast for late afternoon so he might just miss it).

We need to bring back the use of the word ‘cockalorum’ for modern political leaders. A cockalorum is a self-important man.

4.10 Haydock The best-quality races seem to be happening in the space of 40 minutes, and have trapped me into bets on sprints; always a worry whether a length lost at the start will cost you at the finish.

Orion’s Bow has dropped 26lb since he ran here in the track’s autumn gold cup in 2017, when he was paying the penalty for a sequence of five in a row. Good efforts last summer and on seasonal return, with rain welcome. I dived in at 12.5 on BETDAQ; had been bigger and I watched offers being taken down to 10.0.


7.05 Chelmsford Three-year-olds are going for a four-timer in this, and no wonder: Romola and Octave are receiving 31lb and 26lb respectively from Victory Wave.

Sir Michael Stoute is striking at a seductive 42%, with 10 winners in the last two weeks, and the filly that Romola beat to break her maiden in November has been a winner and second in Grade-3 since moving to America. The 3.35 on BETDAQ looked nap material.


3.30 Hamilton (win 10)

3.50 Ripon (win 20)

4.10 Haydock (win 20)
BET 1.75pts win and place ORION’S BOW

7.05 Chelmsford (win 20 nap)
BET 8.5pts win ROMOLA

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