ANGEL TO THE RESCUE AT 9-2: Abbey Angel (WON 9-2) kept Daqman on level terms yesterday, and today he tries several win-and-place bets at even bigger offers on BETDAQ: 15.0, 11.0 and 7.2.

IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER! Weather permitting, the racing improves in quality after today, with five meetings tomorrow, headed by Newbury, and the Thyestes at Gowran Park on Thursday (see Daqman’s preview below).


Think ‘gold’ in Thursday’s Thyestes. Not just a deliberate tongue-twister but a twist of fate that the winner of this week’s big race at Gowran Park will be going for a hat-trick of seconds in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Or is this the 21st-century revival of a once great handicap that was won by three times Gold Cup winner Arkle way back when we all of us were heroes?

The modern Thyestes is also a hunting ground for the Grand National after victories in 2004 and 2005 for Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde.

These results of the last 12 years are way ahead of anything achieved by the Thyestes since the 1970s.

Likely to be run on heavy ground, it could be another war of attrition like Saturday’s Warwick Classic, when only five finished.

Going for the Thyestes hat-trick is trainer Willie Mullins, after wins with On His Own and Djakadam, the two that were both second afterwards in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Only one of Willie’s six probables features in the early markets, Ballycasey, absent since last Spring and whose last success was at Gowran, in the Race That Stops A County ‘Thyestes Jan 22nd 2015 Chase.’

Maybe Ballycasey should have kept that date for the Thyestes, instead of taking in the Ascot Chase (third) before the Ryanair (pulled up).

One he would have met, Goonyella, third last year, is expected to be his toughest opponent this time around.


1.45 Southwell General Tufto landed a hat-trick here last January among 12 wins on this turning track, including this race last year, and has dropped 16lb down the handicap.

He faces three other course winners in Roger Thorpe (3 times), Master Of Song (2) and Excelling Oscar (1) and the lightly-raced improver, Thello.

I think Roger Thorpe is big at 11.0. He would have won at Southwell on New Year’s Day but his claimer, Paddy Pilley, came a mile too soon (led three out, to be more accurate), whereas evidence of his Southwell success in November suggests that he needs holding up to the last few strides.

2.00 Ayr If I said that Lake View Lad is going for a hat-trick here, it would help you understand his odds-on position in the market (1.5 on BETDAQ as I wrote).

But the hat-trick he seeks – or rather he doesn’t! – is three falls in a row, albeit stumbling on the last day when seemingly about to score.

At 5.9, then 10.5, bar one, there must be something in the place market, giving us three chances of a return against the luckless grey.

Final Fling is bred for this kind of trip, and looked big on BETDAQ this morning, offered at 15.0. Placed in both his bumpers, Final Fling is a Milan out of a Supreme Leader mare, related to top-class horses over a distance of ground.

3.25 Southwell Robert Cowell’s runners are on fire (three winners and a place from the last seven starters) and Desert Command looks highly likely to place at least.

Taking 6.2 the win, the place bet should pay for it, with three chances of a return in an eight–runner field.

3.40 Ayr Oil Burner (7.2 taken on BETDAQ) looks a job horse in this. He won it in 2014 and ran really well for a long way at Wetherby on his return after a lay-off, first time out for Stuart Coltherd.

His market opponents, Blue Kascade, Cobajayisland and My Friend George are all winners on the last day. But not one of them has been capable of putting two wins together in their entire histories.


4.00 Southwell The 7.2 offer Edgar is joint-top rated in the Racing Post, returning from an absence, but he will be breaking with tradition if he wins.

Trainer David Bridgwater has gone more than 11 years without a winner on the course from 40 he’s saddled in that time.

4.15 Ayr Harry Challoner riding for Kenneth Slack have a 60% record here in this type of race, and Discoverie has been knocking at the door.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked 1 to 9 for strength)
BET 2pts win and place ROGER THORPE (1.45 Southwell)
DOUBLE WHAMMY: LAY 5pts LAKE VIEW LAD, plus BET 1pt win and place FINAL FLING (2.00 Ayr)
BET 4pts win and place DESERT COMMAND (3.25 Southwell)
BET 4pts win and place OIL BURNER (3.40 Ayr)
BET 8pts win (nap) DISCOVERIE (4.15 Ayr)

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