6-4 NAP TO START THE WEEK FOR DAQMAN: Daqman was on the mark with his first nap of the week, Al Kherb (WON 6-4), yesterday, as he continues to look at his winner-finding techniques. This is about ferreting out ‘hidden’ horses.

SUPER START: DAQMAN bids for back to back winning SUPERNAP’s as he spots a standout in the opener at Catterick on Tuesday.


Winners that will cause a storm. Or, perhaps, more accurately, storms that cause winners. You can expect big breaks in the weather later this week that will turn the form upside down.

I pledged yesterday to add personal ratings to this column, often controversial. That’s in addition to my stats, and my racereading that brings you Fortune Cookies.

You’ve also seen winners coming from my ‘man in the long grass’, information literally from the ground, as contacts report on the gallops.

But, in changing conditions, it’s also from the ‘hidden horse’ that we can expect big-odds winners, as horses run at false prices.

‘Hidden’ because has been running over the wrong trip, on the wrong type of track, submerged by the stable’s poor overall form, or – appropriate to weather changes – ready to show their true colours when the right conditions return, after struggling on hard ground.

Only at the very top are horses ‘machines’, running a high sequence of top-grade races, sometimes on any going; they’re animals you can rely on.

But, in the tricky world of handling handicappers, conditions are paramount, and a few pounds in weight the difference between winning and losing.

Yesterday with stakes-race horses, I warned against a single ratings assessment because of different distances; how we make heroes of horses that are kept away from the danger of defeat. How the essential is to spot improvers.

With handicappers, improvement is self-defeating; it means more weight and less chance of winning.

So the emphasis is on trainer skills. The ability to recognize what distance a horse needs, and then place it in the right race.

And the so-called secrets to success may include waiting for the right conditions but running the horse in races it can’t win, so that it carries less weight when its time is right.

The handicapper is watching. But, if we can spot trainer ability to beat the handicapper, we’ll be on horses that beat the odds.


2.05 Catterick Al Mortajaz looks a winner in waiting and the door should finally open in the Catterick opener.

The Simon Crisford trained runner has improved steadily with each start and should be capable of landing this for his trainer who hit form yesterday with two winners from just two runners.

The Big Bad won a seller last time out but faces a much tougher task here, even though he should be suited by the step up in trip.

The extra distance should also suit Constant who only beat one home on debut at Hamilton on soft ground but is surely better than that.


3.25 Newbury Not the greatest card by Newbury standards but the standout is this class 3 handicap.

Rebel Assault travels down from Middleham and makes a quick reappearance after finishing third to Move Swiftly at Glorious Goodwood last week.

That’s good form and I think she is well handicapped off a mark of 88 – she’s a Listed class winner and started the year off 98.

The Richard trained Almoreb is opposable off top weight given his only winning form on the turf has come with give in the ground.


5.50 Nottingham This column had the 20-1 Stewards Cup winner, thanks to Jason Watson’s 5lb claim and cool, cool ride to stardom.

Now here’s another boy going places. The 7lb apprentice allowance has seen Scott McCullagh win three of five fancied rides for Mick Channon in the last two weeks.

Scott made it a 167-1 Saturday double for the boys after Jason’s triumph, by winning the Apprentice Handicap which closed the Glorious Goodwood meeting.

My man in the long grass tells me that Dr Smolder is working better at home than his 66 handicap rating, and will relish the step up to a mile, with Scott dropping his actual weight mark down to 59.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 20 points, except SUPERNAP staked at SP)

2.05 Catterick

3.25 Newbury
7.5pts win REBEL ASSAULT

5.50 Nottingham
BET 5.5pts win DR SMOLDER

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