CAN HONEYSUCKLE LAND A FOUR-TIMER? Following his Irish Gold Cup preview, Daqman’s stats and form guide to the Champion Hurdle on Sunday appear below in ratings order; Honeysuckle bids for a four-timer. Don’t miss his weekend selections for both days of this Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
TODAY: Daqman has three bets on the all-weather. He is looking for one winner from the three to secure a profit on his staking plan.
IRISH CHAMPION HURDLE FORM
⭕ 3.10 Leopardstown, Sunday (Irish Champion Hurdle) STATS: AGE: With one exception, winners over the age of 9 since 1985 had won the race before. Five-year-olds scored nine times up to 1992 but never since.
TRAINERS: Willie Mullins 6, Henry De Bromhead 5 since 2009.
RATINGS (2013 first): 173, 175, 169, 174, 162, 159, 162, 158, 159, 165
167 STATE MAN Five hurdles wins in a row, meeting senior company first time in a handicap (the 2022 County Hurdle) before winning the Punchestown Champion Novice. Three years younger than Honeysuckle but has to give her 7lb mares’ allowance.
Two Grade 1 this season, including the Morgiana by four lengths, increasing winning distance over the second, Sharjah, to 9.25 lengths at Leopardstown the last day.
Collateral form: Honeysuckle beat Sharjah 6.5 lengths then 2.25 lengths in the Cheltenham and Punchestown champion hurdles of 2021.
165 HONEYSUCKLE Attempts a four-timer, previously achieved by Istabraq (1998-2001) and Hurricane Fly (2011-15).
She had won 17 consecutive, including the last two champion hurdles at Cheltenham, until only third in the 2022 Hattons Grace, a race she’d won three times.
The Hattons Grace was won by Teahupoo, who went on to take the Galmoy 15 lengths, and is now on 163, suggesting that the Hattons Grace was stronger than in previous years for Honeysuckle’s first run back.
160 VAUBAN Just five runs over hurdles, winning the 2022 Spring Juvenile here, the Triumph at Cheltenham and the equivalent at Punchestown.
Split State Man and Sharjah (five lengths third) here last month in a Willie Mullins one-two. No chance with winner that day but still only five and more than a stone in front of State Man and Honeysuckle at the same age.
157 ZANAHIYR Hat-trick in juvenile hurdles but has won only a Grade 2 since; placed behind Sharjah (twice) and Honeysuckle (twice) in Grade 1 in 2022 but failed to finish in two of last three starts.
147 PIPED PIPER Beat Vauban in his maiden (2021) though that was reversed in the 2022 Triumph Hurdle when they were first and third. Won twice in the autumn but tailed off behind State Man and Vauban the last day.
116 TAKARENGO Handicapper who is 1-19 over hurdles and may have problems keeping up with the starter’s hack. But, heh, there is €13,000 set aside to be shared between those not in the first four.
SWEET ON SUGAR
⭕ 2.20 Southwell Sugar Hill Babe has a frustrating CV of 35352-22 but filtering down to ‘Southwell only’ it’s a more respectable 22 and she can make it third time lucky here and gain a deserved first success in a really moderate race.
She comes into this on the back of her best effort to date when beaten a neck by Glorious Angel in a similar class 4 at Newcastle and the pair pulled nicely clear. The winner was completing a hat-trick that day so there can’t really be any questioning of the strength of the form.
Her two primary rivals on Betdaq Betting Exchange both have absences to overcome – Jet Batt (112 days) hinted at ability when trained in Ireland and now makes his first start for the Barron team but is unproven on the all-weather.
Ben Dikduk (64 days) is having his first start since being gelded and is tried in first time headgear – too many variables for my liking and to date date his best performance came on the turf at Newmarket.
Fair And Square is even more exposed than Sugar Hill Babe and I don’t think will be making it 28th time lucky (!!) but could easily plod on for another podium finish.
CLAPPING THUNDER HOME
⭕ 5.05 Southwell Thunder Gap could easily be transformed by this significant step up in trip.
After running well here in December when a staying on 8th over 1m 3f he was again spotted as staying on over 1m4f at Newcastle last month and is well worth a try over the 2m here, especially against so many suspect stayers in the race.
Easy Equation is the exception as a course and distance winner and looks the danger. He wasn’t at his best here last time and the stable are a bit quiet though at present.
Ghostly has five career wins but none further than 1m 4f.
WARRIOR TO CATCH HIM
⭕ 8.00 Chelmsford I wouldn’t be in a huge rush to back hat-trick seeking Storm Catcher. He looks progressive still but is up another 3lb and that gives the Bay Warrior every chance of gaining some revenge.
The Bay Warrior has twice finished behind Storm Catcher but on these revised terms has every chance – certainly far greater than the odds imply.
2.20 Southwell (win 10, nap)
BET 5pts win SUGAR HILL BABE
5.05 Southwell (win 10)
BET 3.5pts win THUNDER GAP
8.00 Chelmsford (win 10)
BET 1.9pts win win THE BAY WARRIOR
What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….
Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.
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