RACING RETURNS TOMORROW: BIG RACES ARE SAVED: Cheltenham four weeks today. The Grand National weights out this afternoon. And here we are betting at Toulouse? But, wait, the good news is that racing returns in England tomorrow. The BHA has lifted the lockdown, and has revised schedules so that big races lost are restored to the agenda:

WEDNESDAY: Plumpton and Musselburgh back on track over Jumps. Kempton and Southwell reopen the Flat (AW).
THURSDAY: Chelmsford (AW), Fontwell, Kelso and Leicester.
FRIDAY: The Kingmaker Novices’ Chase lost at Warwick will be run at Sandown. Fakenham, Lingfield (AW) and Newcastle (AW) also race.
SATURDAY: The BF Hurdle and Denman Chase from the abandoned Newbury meeting are added to Ascot. Also: Haydock, Wincanton, Kempton (AW) and Lingfield (AW).

ALL EYES ON THE WEIGHTS FOR THE GRAND NATIONAL: Today Daqman takes a look at ratings for the top stayers before tomorrow’s analysis of the Grand National weights, due to be announced this afternoon. He then does a double shift on an eight-hour day of French racing at Chantilly and Toulouse (with an audible sigh of relief and an au revoir). Today’s headlines:



Who’s the top stayer? Bristol de Mai, Native River or Clan des Obeaux? Don’t look to the handicapper to help you decide; he’s sitting slap bang on the fence by rating them all on 173.

When they were first (Bristol de Mai), second (Native River) and fourth (Clan des Obeaux) in the Lancashire Chase, they raced off 165, 176 and 157, respectively, with huge gaps between them.

What to do? Well, after that race, the handicapper put Bristol up to 169; kept Gold Cup winner, Native River, on 176, and doctored the Obeaux figure from 157 to 160.

But he had to think again when Clan Des Obeaux won the King George, with Native River third and Bristol de Mai a faller.

In fact, he fell over himself to crown Obeaux joint king of the clan by hiking him 13lb and dropping Native River 3lb, while Bristol de Mai gained in status for his fall (!), going up 4lb to the dizzy heights he’d achieved after winning the Lancashire Chase for the first time in 2017.

It’s almost as if the handicapper said to himself: none of these results are conclusive, and it’s all academic in that they will never actually have to run to these ratings, so I’ll admit that I’m baffled – aren’t we all – until there is a decider in the Gold Cup next March. Until then, I’ll go 173, 173, 173.

He must have breathed a sigh of relief when only one of them was presented to him for special assessment for the Grand National, Bristol de Mai.

Surely – at today’s weights unveiling – for this of all races, he can’t leave him up 4lb for a fall, albeit in his attempts to be the equaliser!

But what can he do for those he wants to tempt back from the last two years and what can he do for those who have apparently lost their form?

Tiger Roll is currently only 9lb higher than for his National win of 2018, One For Arthur only 6lb more than for his 2017 triumph in the race.

He knows that neither horse has done any good since, and he must surely know that the fate of all recent Liverpool winners is failure and retirement.

It will be revealed later today what he’s done for them at Aintree, and whether Bristol de Mai is the tool by which he’s fashioned a workable Aintree handicap.

My guess is that he’s had to keep faith with, or slice only a couple or three pounds off, his rating for Bristol de Mai, even though he hasn’t jumped a single Grand National fence, has an ‘F’ against his form, and is saddled with the question mark over whether he stays beyond the 25.5f of his beloved Lancashire Chase.

He was only seventh in the Gold Cup last year, and forcing tactics were used to beat Native River at Haydock over shorter.

However Bristol holds up the Aintree handicap, there’ll be runners lower down who’ll be left looking well in at the weights. I’ll tell you more about them tomorrow.


Plantez vos epingles! ‘Stick your pins’ in the cards and hope for the best at Chantilly (all-weather Flat on Polytrack) and Toulouse (mixed meeting) this afternoon.

Or you can just save up all day and invest in Le Pin in the last at Chantilly. At least he’s a CD winner and has an ace jockey, Christophe Soumillon, on board. Except that he doesn’t actually mean ‘pin’ but ‘pine’. At least I had one winner yesterday, so here we go again, on the trail of the lonesome pine!

1.37 Chantilly Pierre-Charles Boudot, who rode a double at the last two Chantilly meetings, went on to Cagnes-sur-Mer on Sunday and did it again, with form figures of 1412.

He rides Assanilka, who is capable of winning this from the front out of stall 5. She was in 6 when she just held on here in November over an extra furlong. Djoko was sixth.

2.12 Chantilly Near Gold, switched from Freddy Head to son Christopher, was out of the first two just the once, when attempting Group 3.

Dansilis grow up late and he has looked much more the finished article here at Chantilly in December (second in a big field) and when scoring at Deauville last month.

On both occasions he was odds on as if carrying maximum stable confidence. Now blinkered first time, Near Gold could be a lot better than this field.


4.30 Toulouse Meetings at Pau and Toulouse can sometimes see brilliant success for Guillaume Macaire.

Success for ‘le monsieur’ (The Man) doesn’t just mean winning but that yet another of his superbreds is good enough to attract the attention of the big buyers from England and Ireland to his latest equine of quality.

I wonder if Makewish could be one of them. He is by the same sire as the King George winner, Clan Des Obeaux, and as Milord Thomas, who won 10 chases including the Grande Steeplechase de Paris.

Monsieur Macaire also runs Fandango, who is by the same sire as Politologue and Don Poli.

My hopeful view is that the consistent Fan De Blues, who has to give Fandango and Makewish 6lb and 11lb respectively, will hold up the market so we can punt both Macaire animals.

5.05 and 5.37 Toulouse Another big name from Pau is Jean-Claude Rouget, who has six entries in the Epsom Derby this year.

He has been in fantastic form at Cagnes-sur-Mer with figures of 110013. The only favourites among them won three out of four: 1101.

Sacre Coeur in the 1m 2f turf maiden (5.05) for unraced three-year-olds is superbly named (Montmartre out of a Sagacity mare).

Rouget may also have the favourite in the next at 5.37, a seven-furlong conditions race. Daimyo won back to back at Clairefontaine and at ‘Maisons’ during the summer.

Second and third at Clairefontaine have won since. So have the second and fourth from the Maisons-Laffitte race.


2.47 LE PIN


There is no nap today

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