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DAQMAN BLOW PUTS HIM IN STORMY MOOD: Daqman’s naps hat-trick bid was blown out by the weather yesterday, then – having to ditch huge chunks of his column – he switched to one pipped by a 33-1 shot. All that after having to bin a confident ‘order in’ for the Punchestown National Trial on Tuesday. Back to the drawing-board Daqman, Storm Dennis approaches!

FIVE MEETINGS ABANDONED IN TWO DAYS: We have lost Fairyhouse, Hereford and Wetherby yesterday; Kelso and Fontwell today; and conditions are going to be tough for the big weekends ahead, with rain forecast at Ascot and Haydock, where the going is heavy already. Daqman gives you the Heads Up on the meetings we so desperately need to survive for clues to Cheltenham and the Grand National.


⚠️ HEADS UP Leicester survived an inspection this morning; Sandown has one tomorrow. But there are growing fears that, after last weekend’s Storm Ciara, a second weekend of blizzards and driving winds – Storm Dennis – will blitz the racing scene.

⭕ Sandown (tomorrow; inspection 8 a.m.) The going is soft to heavy but with more rain forecast, and the Esher course has an 8 a.m. inspection ahead of the Grand Military Gold Cup card.

⭕ Ascot (Saturday) Rain and high winds ahead for the Ascot Chase, in which Cyrname will be odds on for his Gold Cup prep against, appropriately, Riders Onthe Storm, a December winner on heavy over the same CD.

⭕ Wincanton (Saturday) Master Debonair won at that same Ascot December meeting for Colin Tizzard and a Kingwell Hurdle strike would cramp his odds for the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.

⭕ Haydock (Saturday) The Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle, won by such as Frodon and Top Notch, is a vital stepping stone to the Triumph Hurdle for Gary Moore’s Goshen.

But a bigger fear is losing the Haydock Grand National Trial with Ballyoptic, Elegant Escape, One For Arthur, Lord Du Mesnil, Ramses De Teillee, Vintage Clouds and Yala Enki needing to run before their Grand National date with destiny.

⭕ Gowran Park (Saturday) Chris’s Dream (Henry De Bromhead) and Voix Du Reve (Willie Mullins) are scheduled to confirm their National intentions in the Red Mills Chase. Voix Du Reve has not yet qualified.

⭕ Navan (Sunday) Imagine getting 25-1 Tiger Roll in any race. It happened on this day last year when punters – and maybe connections, too – just couldn’t believe he could win the Boyne Hurdle.

Assuming the race was just a pipe-opener for the Cheltenham Cross-Country, Tiger Roll was friendless in the market but took it up two out and sprinted clear. He’s back for more on Sunday but likely to be a short price this time.

⚠️ HEADS UP The weekend of February 22 features two stayers’ races over Jumps as well as the Winter Derby, for which Global Giant is a doubtful runner.

⭕ Lingfield (Saturday week) John Gosden says he has other plans for Global Giant and will rely on Dubai Warrior and Court House at Lingfield for the race he won last year with Wissahickon.

⭕ Newcastle (Saturday week) The Eider Chase of 4m 1.5f, which may star Bigirononhiship, attempting a hat-trick after winning at Wetherby, then slamming the 14-strong Scottish Borders National field nine lengths.

⭕ Kempton (Saturday week) Sandown Gold Cup (3m 5f) winner Talkischeap has his Grand National prep in the 3m chase.


2.30 Leicester You couldn’t call it out of this world but trainer Harry Fry’s Leicester record of 57% was pretty good.

Then he completely ignored the Oadby track for more than two years. Until today, when his only runner is also his sole contender of the week so far, his first since 2-2 (still standing) at Uttoxeter on Saturday, both ridden by Sean Bowen.

Outofthisworld is clearly a mare with a mission, after running two good races nearer home at Taunton (second when fell there the last day, better off at the weights now with the winner, Everlanes).

Her form figures (F43F) will have many layers delighted to offer to multiply your stake. I took 6.3 on BETDAQ.

Quick Wave was a losing favourite the last day. Her form is 0-9. Her trainer’s current form 1-16. Dame Du Soir has won on the course but this is a step up in trip.

Despite her big weight, Got Away (stakes saver) may be the biggest danger, down in grade coming back to the track where she has form figures of 112, including success in this race last year.

But she was really struggling in the autumn and her wind surgery will need to have resurrected her.

3.00 Leicester After this, they’re all novices on the rest of the card. So I’ll try and work this one out.

Trainer Lawney Hill has a 50% strike rate in handicap chases here, and Clondaw Westie is back to within a pound of the mark he carried to victory last Spring. He’s followed up with P4U, so still requires a lot of faith at offers of 5.2.

Scotchtown ran his best race a year ago tomorrow at the Sandown meeting but has been tailed off in every effort since.

Troubled Soul, That’s anyone who backs this bridesmaid: form figures 2223220, the duck-egg being when behind Everlanes when Outofthis World was an unfortunate faller at Taunton (see 2.30 race).


6.00 Chelmsford Here’s a taste of what you are up against in races at class-7 level: Reshaan’s record is 0-30; Drop Kick Murphi 0-16; Te Amo Te Amo 0-14; Cool Echo 1-27; Rinty Maginty 1-17.

7.0 Chelmsford Class 2, wow; we’re in the lofty heights of form! Well, we’re certainly in the Solar Heights of form. Her CV is key to this result.

Chelmsford form figures: 11310. But form here and at Wolverhampton since that last win 002, as if her 9lb rise has stopped her.

Her defeat on the last day came in a Ladbrokes-sponsored race, second to a previous class-4 winner, Kwela, with Geizy Teizy third and Exceed Loose fourth.

Both Exceed Loose and Starlight Romance are pretty much unexposed at a mile but Geizy Teizy had won over the trip in December, because getting more than a stone from Solar Heights.

The second filly home that day, Bubble And Squeak, had earlier finished clear of Ruby Gates, giving her around a stone and a half!

It all adds up to a smart move by James Tate putting Solar Heights in this conditions race where fillies who might beat her in a handicap have to meet her at level weights.

The ratings have Solar Heights clear on 94, Exceed Loose on 87, Starlight Romance 85, Geizy Teizy 80 and Ruby Gates 70.

The only worry is that the race may be tactical, with Marco Botti saddling both Geizy Teizy and Exceed Loose. But he’s 0-7 since having a winner on the first of the month.


7.30 Chelmsford John Ryan is 3-4, thanks to a hat-trick at Lingfield since the start of the month. But it’s not easy to see what he’s about, and what to expect, with Normal Norman.

Norman, of the not-so-normal form, has a turf and AW Flat rating of 78 and a 123 figure for hurdles. He’s raced over 7f, 1m, 1m 2f and 2m, and that’s only since August.

Disparate and desperate, pulled up the last twice between the Cheltenham Festival (Supreme Novice Hurdle) and Musselburgh (handicap hurdle), his sole success in the last year coming over a mile on the AW at Kempton.

I delight in the Racing Post’s Spotlight comment this morning: ‘has a bit to prove,’ and find his Winter Derby target has offers of 100-1 with bookmakers.

Wimpole Hall is a once-a-year winner but the last two hits both came over today’s CD on the Chelmsford course.

But anything he can do, Lucky’s Dream can do better, with Chelmsford figures of 01141 and every chance of defying a penalty.

Most likely danger, The Game Is On, has been in good form since the autumn; winner and second at Wolverhampton and second at Lingfield, but was down the field twice on the Tapeta at Chelmsford as a two-year-old.


2.30 Leicester (win 10)

3.00 Leicester (win 10)

7.00 Chelmsford (supernap)

7.30 Chelmsford (win 10)

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