Reading Time: 4 mins

8-1 START TO THE 2020 FLAT FOR DAQMAN: Daqman yesterday landed Lemista (WON 8-1) and Russian Emperor (WON 2-1) winners at Naas on the first day of the 2020 Flat season, launched in Ireland. Look out for Saturday’s second big day, when the Curragh Flat turf campaign opens with the Irish Lincolnshire.

THE SECRETS OF WINNER FINDING: PART 1: Jumps cards continue until Saturday but Daqman keeps the Flat alive with some words of wisdom for the season ahead. Apply them to the Jumps where you can do so.


‘Off to the races for some fun,
I backed a horse that nearly won.
He nearly won again today;
How I wish he’d go away!’

Some of your best friends are losers. I’m talking about horses we call ‘bridesmaids’; those that ‘plateau’; ‘nearly horses’; and hyped animals that never match the headlines. All are useful; none will be wasted by the discerning punter. Not all are lays; far from it.

In this series I will be talking about the best way to stake your bets, the search for value, races that speak volumes for the future, improvers, ‘hidden horses,’ and how to find them; the truth about racing ‘certainties’ and much more.

Let’s start with those losers and how to turn them into winners. What, for instance, are ‘nearly horses’ and how can you make them help you in your betting?

Nearly horses: Sometimes called ‘in-between horses’. That’s because an obvious example of this type is the handicapper who has done so well he gets too much weight to continue in handicaps.

His only way forward is in conditions races or stakes races where everything carries the same weight, or nearly so, depending on a range of conditions and penalties. In the event, he can’t cope with the class, and could be a lay if Press and public take his side.

But watch him! Once he’s been overfaced for a few weeks, he might well come back down to handicap level again and win at a better price than when he had a string of wins by his name. This time, Press and public have lost faith.

Punters make simplistic judgments between horses with form that reads 000111 and those with 111000. They treat horses all the same, and their ‘form’ all the same.

Generally speaking, those that ‘nearly’ win at their handicap level could change their luck in a lower grade, if the handicapper would just drop them a few pounds. Keep an eye open for one that’s ‘given a chance’ by the handicapper.

That’s what graded racing is all about: each horse ratings assessed so that it can run at a certain level or ‘class’, or improve ‘through the grades.’

When one drops down, he will carry his ‘nearly’ reputation and poorer recent form figures with him. That’ll put the bloggers off!

In addition, if he’s in lower class, he will have to carry more weight than in the higher grade. That will also persuade them to swerve him. Remember, bloggers and Press tipsters are easier to read than horses!

But love them all. They make prices for you; prices you want to lay; prices you want to back!

My favourite ‘nearly horse’ on the Flat is in the higher grades of Listed and Pattern (Group races). They are horses which need things to go right and don’t win often; they need a good trainer to locate opportunities for them. They are vulnerable to younger horses.

A smart move would be to get the animal fit early and race him when others may not be ready in races in which he has his ‘conditions’ (the trip and going, style of racetrack or a few pounds allowance).

The best of the field are using that race as a stepping-stone and are not 100%. He isn’t going anywhere after this.. This is his day for glory. And yours.

🗓️  TOMORROW: more about their hyping and how it helps you; more about ‘nearly horses’ of a different kind, called bridesmaids.


⭕ 2.30 Clonmel Opportunities are limited today but Cosa Ban looks interesting here if none the worse for her fall at Gowran. She was still travelling well before falling two out in the race won by the odds-on Future Proof. It looked a much better contest than this and she looks to have an outstanding chance.

Elusive Star has some decent PTP form but didn’t show too much of that ability on his bumper debut at Gowran when beaten 34 lengths into fourth. He’s probably better than that but may need a further trip to show his best form.

It’s a similar story with She’s All Vintage who didn’t show much in bumpers after promise in a Point but she showed something when fifth at 66/1 on her hurdling debut at Navan last time out.

Don Magnifica might be the dark horse of the race and I will include in both win and place markets for a 10 point return on both. He is lightly raced and interesting to see him out again quickly having finished fourth at Wexford last week.

⭕ 3.00 Clonmel Balkos was an eye catcher last time out when third to Key Commander at Punchestown. He put some good distance between himself and his toiling rivals in behind and should be suited by the drop back in trip today, although confidence is tempered by the fact that trainer Donal Hassett is 30 without a win.

Favourite Shantou Sisu is on the drift – which is not really surprising given he has started favourite on five occasions so far in his career and has been beaten on every occasion.

To be fair he was only beaten a short head here last time over the slightly longer trip but just seems to be vulnerable and the other jockeys should be well aware by now of his front running tactics and not give him too much rope.

⭕ 5.00 Clonmel Frontal Assault sets the bar high enough to suggest he is worthy of nap material.

The form of his third to Ferny Hollow at Fairyhouse was given the biggest boost possible when the winner went on to land the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham earlier this month and the runner-up On Eagles Wings has also won since.

Kilcruit is an interesting debutant for Anthony Mullins and Stand Off should improve for his Punchestown fourth last season but Frontal Assault should really prove hard to beat.

DAQMAN’S BETS (all bets win and place staked to win 10 points)

2.30 Clonmel
BET 4.0pts win COSA BAN
BET 1.0pt win and 2.8pts place DON MAGNIFICA

3.00 Clonmel
BET 1.2pts win and 4.5pts place BALKOS

5.00 Clonmel
BET 4.4pts win (nap) FRONTAL ASSAULT

Did you know that as well as checking the realtime prices on BETDAQ below – you can also log into your account and place your bets directly into BETDAQ from BETDAQ TIPS.

Bet via BETDAQ mobile below