Reading Time: 4 mins

WHAT GOES ON INSIDE THE RACING STABLES: Only the names have been changed, as Daqman once in a while breaks the daily routine to tell the inside stories of trainers he knew as a young racing journalist. Next week: Part Two of his trainer-form series looks at Hidden Horses.

TOMORROW: IRISH EYES: All eyes on the Dublin Racing Festival, as Daqman reveals the stats and facts and which weekend races at Leopardstown will change your views on Cheltenham.


WINTER CORN. I wrote my piece for the daily paper, asking why no stewards’ inquiry. A horse with form figures 00000 had just romped home on the Flat at 33-1. What chance the poor punter?

I lambasted the trainer, and must confess to quaking in my shoes when his secretary asked me to drive over to his Epsom stables.

‘Come in and sit down’; he nodded at the kitchen table. ‘I’ve marked all his races,’ he said, opening the Raceform Notebook. ‘It’s taken me nearly two years to get him to pay for himself.’

‘There’s his entries and his vets bills, and my gallops fees in that time. That’s only part of the story.’ We shuffled the paperwork around the table over a glass of Scotch.

‘Cheers,’ said the trainer, ‘now I’d like you to write another story: how his handler helped this horse through corns and colic, and manoeuvred him into the right races and got his weight down before finally getting him home and paying for his winter feed!

‘It took as much effort winning that seller as it takes to win a Derby.’

THE GOOD THING. One trainer I thought I knew well rang me and asked if I would do him a favour. What favour?

I can’t tell you over the phone, said the man who had trained three big handicap winners, since he retired from a top-class career in the saddle.

In all that time, with all that experience, he must just about know it all; what could he possibly want me to do for him? Why the secrecy?

I drove very early to the yard and then went with him to the gallops. ‘See that one with the blaze,’ he said. ‘I’m running him at Doncaster on Monday; he’s like grease lightning.

‘I’ve got no particular record with two-year-olds and he’s unraced, so he’ll open 20-1. I rarely bet but I’m blumming well going to bet this one..

‘That’s if you can get me on. I can’t go on the phone with a couple of hundred in this situation, unraced two-year-old and all; they’ll knock me back straight away.’

I was under strict instructions to leave it until 9 a.m. on the Monday, then – once the trainer gave me the nod – I would contact my man at Hilliam Will. I had warned him I was looking for something first show, sharp at 9 o’clock.

‘First show was 100-6,’ he said, ‘but I would have given you Twenties.’

I caught the drift and demanded: ‘Would have? What’s this ‘would have’?’

Said the voice down the phone: ‘He’s 2-1.’

‘Two to.. what?’”

‘Yep; someone came on last night (pause); I tried to ring you (pause).. Look, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but it was your man’s head lad.

‘You’d better get him to tighten up the gallops; doesn’t he know he can only test the two-year-olds himself.’ The horse finished second at 13-8.


⭕ 5.40 Southwell Outsider of the day seems to be Another Angel, likely to get a flyer from the one stall. I took 15.0 in the Sportsbook on the BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

He could win this, and is a strong place bet in an eight-runner field, on the strength of his length defeat by Chookie Dunedin at Wolverhampton in December.

That showed that the seven times winner over the minimum could score at 6f in the right circumstances.

Trainer Antony Brittain is in great form with six winners in 11 days, and employs very successful tactics this evening.

Yes, stables all over the country apply the ‘blinds’, blinkers or visor, to give a horse an edge.

Brittain has a strike rate of only 12% but that rises to 43% when he uses the headgear. He seems to have a knack of readying a horse to benefit from them which other trainers wish they had.

I’ll cover the 7 point total stake with a ‘saver’ on Samovar who can be hard to peg back when he’s in the mood. After his course and distance win last month he comes into this as the form pick – despite a 3lb hike.


⭕ 6.10 Southwell A class 2 handicap over six furlongs and Shallow Hal is out to defy his statutory 5lb penalty for his win here last week.

The talented Pierre-Louis Jamin is again in the saddle but the pair only scrambled home by a neck last time and this is a tougher grade.

He also has to contend with Gabrial The Devil again who was second last week and has every chance of turning that form around.

A bigger threat to the pair and at better prices too is Brian The Snail who doesn’t have the most prolific strike-rate but does appear to have hit a purple patch of form.

The form of his second to Fizzy Feet in a class 2 handicap at Lingfield looks smart enough and I’ll take a chance on him. The ‘chance’ being this is his Fibresand debut but he is up against rivals that are handicapped right up to their best form.


⭕ 7.10 Wolverhampton Thrave stands out in this claimer.

Michael Appleby’s course and distance winner is a regular here and has been placed 1-2-3 in his three starts so far in 2021.

He goes well for pilot Frederick Larson and this surely is a much easier assignment than his class five handicap last week when he stayed on well to take third to Daafr.

To say the opposition looks moderate is an understatement – second favourite Finoah was disappointing last time out and this is his Fibresand debut.


5.40 Southwell (win 50, win 12 place)
BET 3.5pts win and place ANOTHER ANGEL
BET 2.5pst win (stakes saver) SAMOVAR

6.10 Southwell (win 10)
2.3pts win BRIAN THE SNAIL

7.10 Southwell (win 10)
BET 9.5pts win (nap) THRAVE

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