11 IRISH FAVOURITES AT THE FESTIVAL TO SCUPPER ENGLAND: Daqman continues in controversial mode today. He’s lambasted the prevalence of the guessing game of which big-name animals will bounce back in prep races; and he’s begged for the retirement of Tiger Roll (‘he’s done his bit’). Now he gets down to detail about the so-called dominance of the Dublin Festival at Cheltenham, which has 11 Irish championship favourites.
THREE MEETINGS ON TUESDAY: And DAQMAN has low stakes bets at all of them – TAUNTON, WETHERBY and NEWCASTLE.
CHELTENHAM: WHICH ONES TO LAY?
Don’t bother turning up, the English are told! With the Irish having all 11 ante-post favourites in the championship races, home trainers will be left fighting for the handicap scraps at the Cheltenham Festival.
That view was reinforced by an absolute ballyhoo about the power displays at the Dublin Racing Festival at the beginning of February.
Each year, they said, the Dublin dominance was growing and this year would be the crowning year.
But is that right, even half-right; and are Leopardstown-Cheltenham doubles on this year like never before? Let’s examine the facts.
From Thursday, February 11 to Friday, February 19 in this column, I took each Cheltenham Festival day in turn, looking at the Dublin Racing Festival winners of 2018-20 alongside the championship winners in March.
Only seven successful at the Dublin event all told from 2018-20 went on to score in the 33 Cheltenham championship races in those three years.
They landed three different races on the Tuesdays (that’s only one a year); had three wins on the Wednesday in just two events; but only one on the Thursday and none Friday, Gold Cup day. Here are the seven:
Cheltenham, Tuesday (see story Thursday, February 11)
KLASSICAL DREAM (2018) Supreme Novices Hurdle
FOOTPAD (2019) Arkle Novices Chase
HONEYSUCKLE (2020 Mares Hurdle)
Cheltenham, Wednesday (see Friday, February 12)
SAMCRO (2018) Ballymore Novices Hurdle)
RELEGATE (2018) Champion Bumper
ENVOI ALLEN (2019) Champion Bumper
Cheltenham, Thursday (see Monday, February 15)
MIN (2019) Ryanair Chase.
Cheltenham, Friday (see Friday, February 19) NONE!
The 2021 Cheltenham-championship favourites for March 16, 17, 18 and 19, according to BETDAQ offers, are all Irish:
Al Boum Photo (Gold Cup), Honeysuckle (Champion Hurdle), Chacun Pour Soi (Champion Chase), Appreciate It (Supreme Novices Hurdle), Shishkin (Arkle Novices Chase), Honeysuckle/Concertista (Mares Hurdle), Gaillard Du Mesnil (Ballymore Novices Hurdle), Fakiera (Albert Bartlett), Elimay (Mares Chase), Zanahiyr (Triumph Hurdle) and Kilcruit (Champion Bumper).
Five of them won at Leopardstown over the Dublin-festival weekend; Appreciate It, Chacun Pour Soi, Gaillard Du Mesnil, Honeysuckle and Kilcruit. And Corals bet only even money that four or more will follow up in March!
I reserve judgment for another day but I will say this now: I’ve spent the season so far trying to create Fortune Cookies for Cheltenham (quite successfully; three of them in the above favourites’ list)
But now I’m of the opinion that I’d do better looking for weaknesses in the favourites and preparing for a lay campaign. More about that next time, when I’ll add to my reasons why.
HE’S THE MASTER
⭕ 2.30 Taunton The Philip Hobbs trained Masters Legacy looked a nice prospect in three races last season – all here at Taunton. After making a decent debut he won his next two races with ease -in his final start beating Polish who was a good winner of a Newbury handicap hurdle over the weekend.
He copes with soft (though unproven on heavy), is making his handicap debut and has been off the track for 413 days so there are plenty of question marks but the stable are in good form – much more so than Harry Fry who trains the BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE favourite King Roland.
‘Roland’ has a pretty incredible CV – he’s started favourite in all seven of his races (including debut PTP) and has won four of those seven. There are no problems with the ground but more concerning is that Harry Fry is now 38 runners without a win over jumps spanning 45 days. It’s also slightly odd to see King Roland switching straight back to hurdles after his encouraging chase debut last time out.
HEADING TO DUBAI
⭕ 2.45 Wetherby Dubai Days might be the answer to this very open looking handicap hurdle over two miles.
He benefitted from being held up and the hood going back on when winning at Newcastle in December and didn’t run too badly in a ‘Jumpers Bumper’ back at the track last month. That should have put him straight for this and the hold up tactics are likely to be deployed again today by jockey Bruce Lynn who was aboard when he won at Newcastle.
There are plenty of dangers, although those at the top end of the market look firmly in the grip of the handicapper with the exception of En Couleur who is only having his fourth start over hurdles. He was fairly well beaten on his handicap debut but it would come as no surprise to see an improved effort.
I’M TAKING A CHANCE
⭕ 7.10 Newcastle A Ladbrokes-sponsored novice event which looks a little better than the official class 5.
It’s no surprise to see the Mark Johnston trained Ghost Rider heading the market but I didn’t expect to see him quite so short.
Whilst he was a very easy winner at the track last time out, the form took a dent with the runner-up being beaten three times subsequently – including last time out at 1/6.
The form might not be up to much and under a penalty As If By Chance could be the value play. His last two runs, both here, are solid enough.
DAQMAN’S BETS (all staked to win 10 points)
BET 3.1pts win (nap) MASTERS LEGACY (2.30 Taunton)
BET 2.2pts win DUBAI DAYS (2.45 Wetherby)
BET 2.1pts win AS IF BY CHANCE (7.10 Newcastle)
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Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.
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