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HORSES OF A LIFETIME: BREEDER OF THE CENTURY: Follow the fortunes today of great breeders and great horses right through to Naas this afternoon, as Daqman commemorates the dreams come true of Khalid Abdullah, owner-breeder of some of the great horses of this century and the last.

DAQMAN TRIO ACROSS THE CARDS IN 20 MINUTES: No time to make the tea! Daqman’s three for today race within 20 minutes across the cards at Naas, Plumpton and Leicester between 2.20 and 2.40 this afternoon, culminating in the nap. Headlines:

🔹 THE MAN WHO DREAMED CHAMPIONS
🔹 STILL THEY SEARCH FOR NEW ARKLE
🔹 BOB’S JOB IS TO BEAT BLUE LORD
🔹 CYCLOP EYES A VETERANS’ PRIZE
🔹 FANFARE FOR THE DASHING DINO


THE MAN WHO DREAMED CHAMPIONS

Every owner dreams of a great champion. To have one is the dream come true; two and it’s a dream deja vu; three or more and you must have been Khalid Abdullah.

Even hindsight has you doubting. That one man should own Frankel, Dancing Brave and Enable is inconceivable, if it hadn’t happened.

Prince Khalid, whose death has been announced, won 118 Group and Grade 1 races, mainly through trainers Guy Harwood, Jeremy Tree, Roger Charlton, Sir Michael Stoute, Andre Fabre, Bobby Frankel, Sir Henry Cecil and John Gosden.

But, they would all agree, the root of his success was his own judgment and understanding of the thoroughbred and his strategic breeding enterprise.

His legacy eclipses that of the Aga Khan’s great breeding ventures of the 1940s and 50s and the dominance of the Northern Dancer line from the 1960s and into the 1970s and 80s, largely through the training skills of Vincent O’Brien.

Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farm took the reins in the 1990s and, within 10 years, had won all five English Classics and made himself leading owner in England and France.

My American bloodstock expert, Stacy Stark, names his Toussaud (sired by El Gran Senor) as one of the greatest ever thoroughbred broodmares. You could spend a lifetime researching the noughts on the cheque-books and the crosses in the breeding lines…

Juddmonte was in Kentucky, as well as in Europe, and Stacy recalls seeing round the immaculate Lexington farm, inside its 10-foot-high fencing which surrounded it for miles.

Even to that chain-link fencing, the most costly you can buy, it was ‘no expense spared.’ How far will the Juddmonte chain continue down the years into the future with progeny from the likes of the Frankel and Enable lines..?


STILL THEY SEARCH FOR NEW ARKLE

⭕ 1.20 Punchestown, Sunday (Killiney Novice Chase) It’s nearly half a century since one of Fred Winter’s best novice chasers, Killiney, was killed on the racecourse, the tragedy all the greater because – not for the first time – the Press latched on to a Cheltenham champion novice as ‘the new Arkle.’

There never was another Arkle, nor ever will be, no more than you can say that Enable was the new Treve or that Treve was the new Allez France. But we like to think that way.

There are great horses, hard to compare, who are the immortals of racing given life by the big breeder and honed by the Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls of this world.

The few exceptions are those big little men – and women! – that we cheer till we’re hoarse when we see the unexpected happen at huge odds and the top drawer gets stuffed full of old socks!

Gordon Elliott has done well to break the mould more than once in Ireland and currently leads Mullins 125-104 for winners in the Irish trainers’ table but is 70,000 euros behind on prizemoney won.

He could have the next Arkle, or a ‘nearly so’, with Envoi Allen, who has scored an unbeaten 10 out of 10 under Rules, and might be out in the Killiney on Sunday.

So far, the best the Killiney Novice Chase has produced was probably Djakadam in 2014 but he was very much ‘nearly so’, subsequently second in the Punchestown Gold Cup and runner-up again in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the same horse: Don Cossack.

Mullins has won six out of the last seven Killineys, eight in all. Elliott has never won it; not once. He’ll take Envoi Allen. So will I; no ‘nearly’ about it.


BOB’S JOB IS TO BEAT BLUE LORD

⭕ 2.20 Naas today This is one of the races – a Grade 1 novice hurdle – which brought Envoi Allen to the fore a year ago.

It’s always won by the favourite (five in a row) and always by Willie Mullins (5) or Gordon Elliott (3 of the last 4).

But no one told Henry De Bromhead or Jessica Harrington, who are hoping that the experience of Bob Olinger and Ashdale Bob respectively will prevail. Is Mullins’ Blue Lord really worth two bob!

He raced at Punchestown as if needing today’s step up to 2m 4f, and Paul Townend already knows Bob Olinger, having beaten him at Gowran Park in November.

But Ashdale Bob looks another matter. He slammed Fakiera (rated 133) and Gabynako (132) six and more lengths in a Grade 2 at Navan last month, the placed horses confirming their one-two of Fairyhouse in November. Bob seemed value on BETDAQ at 5.0 this morning.


CYCLOP EYES A VETERANS’ PRIZE

⭕ 2.30 Plumpton ‘Keep one eye on Cyclop’, I warned for the Lincolnshire National two weeks back.

While I was cheering on the subsequent hero of the race, Who’s In The Box (WON 7-1), I did indeed keep an eye on Cyclop who, though twice unable to get a clear run, finished within a neck of the winner, giving 9lb.

Cyclop had previously won two autumn handicaps at Chepstow – one chase one hurdle – by wide margins, 10 lengths and 11 lengths.

He is one of three horses in this race rated at least 9lb clear of the remainder. All are 10-year-olds in a veterans handicap chase for conditionals, only nine just a few days ago so with a serious advantage.

Cyclop is with his winning rider in the Chepstow double, Lilly Pinchin. Rex Dingle landed a hat-trick on Orchardstown Cross in 2019. He’s down in the handicap and will be winning when Jeremy Scott (currently 1-19) strikes form.

Snuff Box got back into the winner’s enclosure at Bangor a month or more back but has never had the consistency of the other two and never won this high in the handicap.

Cyclop was 2.56 this morning on the BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE


FANFARE FOR THE DASHING DINO

⭕ 2.40 Leicester J P McManus runs a half-brother to champion-hurdler Epatante who frightened the handicapper at Uttoxeter on the last day.

The gambled-on five-year-old, Fanfaron Dino, turned over hat-trick-seeker Ragamuffin, only having to be nudged along, and was raised 13lb.

In fact, he will carry more than a stone less on his back than he did that day though, in theory, faces much stronger opposition in a class-3 open handicap.

But how much stronger is it when the top weight, When You’re Ready, has won only his novice hurdle in receipt of 7lb from a 115-rated favourite.

Yet When You’re Ready has to give Fanfaron Dino 24lb today. So, too, has another maiden-only winner, Chazza. Both are a year older.

Fil d’Ariane has also won just the once, a grade below today’s race, albeit here at Leicester. I took 3.6 Fanfaron Dino.

DAQMAN’S BETS

2.20 Naas (win 20)
BET 5pts win ASHDALE BOB

2.30 Plumpton (win 12)
BET 7.5pts win CYCLOP

2.40 Leicester (win 15)
BET 5.5pts win (nap) FANFARON DINO


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