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WISE-STAKING PLAN KEEPS DAQMAN PUNTERS OUT OF TROUBLE: The famous Daqman staking plan kept backers on the right side when Caradoc (WON 11-10) was his winner in three yesterday, following Sunday’s four-timer. More of the same staking today with three bets at Nottingham.

CHELTENHAM AND YORK: ON THE BIG-RACE TRAIL TOMORROW: Daqman starts the day with a personal view of the planned changes being made at the Cheltenham festival. Tomorrow: His Heads Up on next week’s York Ebor meeting.


Where will I find my Grand National bets? Cause Of Causes, Rathvinden and Tiger Roll were Aintree punts on a plate for me after their success in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.

Now, though 158 years old, the NH Chase as we know it is gradually being whittled down in the name of safety and public opinion, with more changes, this time seemingly substantial.

Commonsense tells little me that amateur riders on novice chasers was always going to be a tricky combination over four miles on a hilly course. Had no one noticed in 158 years? Therein lie the modifications.

Exposing the Cheltenham race to a public throwing up of hands inevitably supplies fodder to those hungry to end the professional race for mature horses which is held on a flat track at Aintree.

But let’s hope that the mods make a difference to the NH Chase without destroying the nature of the race: a shorter trip, two fewer fences, down to 23; jockeys to qualify (20 mounts/five chase winners) and all horses to have a 120+ rating.

I don’t need the authority’s ‘in-depth review and consultation process’ to spot that, in the last three seasons, only two runners in total have rated lower than 126.

I think many will assume from that the corinthian riders are really being blamed for the race’s recent carnage. Or is the whole thing purely cosmetic.

Meanwhile, favourite to be axed in favour of a new Mares’ Chase is either the JLT novices’ chase, which has only been raced since 2005, or the Fred Winter juvenile novices’ hurdle, which was launched at the same time. Sounds like the race-planners got it all wrong. Nothing’s changed then.

Some purists see the Cross-Country as a novelty and would dump it in favour of this new event, but cross-country/banks racing has stepped into the breach to develop the staying chaser, witness the last three winners, the same Cause Of Causes and Tiger Roll (twice) that emerged from the NH Chase. There’s a path to glory here that should not be lost.

What do we want a Mares Chase for, anyway? It is likely to be uncompetitive; a small-field triumphant parade for an odds-on shot, as is the Mares Hurdle, won repeatedly by the same Willie Mullins’ diva.

The Mares Chase is for ‘the greater good of racing’, says Cheltenham supremo, Ian Renton. Nothing mere mortals can understand then, Mr. Renton, who adds, buying himself time, that it won’t be popular in its early years.

Shamefacedly, I confess that I thought that popular, competitive racing was the whole of the agenda. Silly Daqman.


3.30 Nottingham Conditions look perfect here for Stake Acclaim who gets give in the ground and showed what he is capable of two starts ago when making all to win a decent class 2 handicap at Newbury.

This class 3 is an easier assignment for the Dean Ivory trained runner.

On his one start since he put in a good shift when fourth to Maid In India in bottomless ground at Haydock in Listed company.

Whilst he enjoys cut in the ground, conditions may have gone too extreme at Haydock as he has never won on heavy ground before.

Main market rival is Kyllang Rock who is hard to evaluate. He would have a big chance on some of his best form but it’s been a while since he has shown it and he was very disappointing on seasonal reappearance after a lengthy break when beating only one home at Wolverhampton having been sent off the 6/5 favourite.

4.00 Nottingham Oisin Murphy did us a favour on Caradoc yesterday and hopefully he can repeat the winning formula with Gamesome here.

There are two non runners, including Seamster who pipped my nap by a head at Catterick yesterday and Zapper Class is also out having looked to have good claims.

That might leave the door open for Gamesome whose hat-trick bid came to end at Beverley on good to firm ground but it was really the high draw that was undoing at Beverley. He was actually drawn 12 (of 10 eventual starters!) and the fact that he got within four lengths is probably not that bad form when it comes to five furlong races at Beverley.

He has plenty of talent on his day and this race has cut up to a small field of generally out of form rivals.

5.00 Nottingham Deinonychus won over course and distance last season and hinted at a return to form last time out at Ripon when a 33/1 runner-up to Matewan.

He gets the same good to soft ground today and off the same 59 mark has been given a chance by the handicapper

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 10 points each)
BET 5.0pts win (nap) STAKE ACCLAIM (3.30 Nottingham)
BET 3.8pts win GAMESOME (4.00 Nottingham)
BET 3.9pts win DEINONYCHUS (5.00 Nottingham)

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