CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TESTS: Look out for another big-race weekend! Daqman plots the top seven events for Cheltenham, Cork and Punchestown, all seen as trials for Cheltenham and the Spring festivals in Ireland.

TODAY: Daqman heads to Lingfield for his NAP. Hexham failed a morning inspection.

TOMORROW: December Gold Cup preview

FRIDAY: Cheltenham Day 1


HOT SEVEN WEEKEND TRIAL RACES

⭕ 12.05 Cheltenham, Saturday (Triumph Hurdle Trial) Defi Du Seuil (2016) was the last winner of this trial to go on and win the Triumph Hurdle.

⭕ 1.15 Cheltenham, Saturday Sky Pirate took this 2m chase on the way to winning the 2021 Grand Annual at Cheltenham (Jonjo O’Neill).

⭕ 1.50 Cheltenham, Saturday (December Gold Cup) Three times successful in the decade, Paul Nicholls saddles Il Ridoto to follow Unioniste (2012) and Frodon twice (2016 and 2018).

⭕ 2.25 Cheltenham, Saturday (International Hurdle) Nigel Twiston-Davies (with the same horse, The New One, 2012-14 and 2016) and Nicky Henderson (2017-19) both landed a hat-trick in this.

Henderson can choose from Epatante and First Street on Saturday; ‘Twiston’ has the early favourite, I Like To Move It.

⭕ 3.00 Cheltenham, Saturday (Bristol Novices Hurdle) This is another one that’s gone three times to Nigel Twiston-Davies in eight seasons, starting with Blaklion and Wholestone.

The same stable’s Weveallbeencaught was third in the Ballymore trial in November; now here he is in this Albert Bartlett test.

⭕ 2.00 Punchestown, Sunday (John Durkan Memorial) Don Cossack (2014 winner of this) and Djakadam (2015 and 16) finished first and second in the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Min produced a hat-trick in the race for Willie Mullins, who has landed six out of seven, including a four-timer when Allaho scored last year.

⭕ 2.20 Cork, Sunday (Hilly Way Chase) A repeat by last year’s winner, Energumene, who then landed the Cheltenham and Punchestown champion chases, would make it nine Hilly Way wins in 10 years for Willie Mullins.


REACH FOR THE MOON

⭕ 2.35 Lingfield Cotopaxi Moon looks the answer to this novice event.

The James Ferguson trained runner was well backed ahead of his debut here last month before finishing a close up third and gave every indication that the two furlong step up in trip to 1m 2f will prove ideal.

With normal improvement he should prove hard to beat against some slightly more experienced rivals. Crystal Delight has moved from Sir Michael Stoute to William Jarvis and the runner is also having his first start since wind surgery. After a 212 day break he might need the outing.

Into The Spotlight has been a big morning drifter on the Betdaq Betting Exchange. The James Tate trained runner chased home the long odds on White Wolf at Wolverhampton last time out but I’m not sure the value of the form amongst the ones that finished behind him?

It’s hard to see anything else getting involved and the top three in the market should dominate the finish.


OXYGEN BREATH OF FRESH AIR

⭕ 3.35 Leicester Venetia Williams has hit form with eight winners from her last 35 and an improved run from Oxygen can be fully expected here.

The ex-French trained runner finished fifth at Lingfield on his UK debut, beaten nearly 18 lengths but is bred to get much further and the half mile step-up in trip could be a huge positive for this lightly raced recruit.

There are big question marks over those at the top of the market.

Spanish Present was a bitter disappointment on his handicap debut at Cheltenham when beaten 51 lengths in a race for which he was sent off the 13/8 favourite. There was nothing found subsequently so you would have to file as either an off day or he is in need of huge help from the handicapper over and above the 2lb he gets here.

Last year’s winner Present Value is off the same mark and looks a bigger danger – confidence just tempered by the current stable form and the fact that Present Value didn’t really go on to build on that form last season.


CLASS 5 GOING ON CLASS 2?

⭕ 7.00 Kempton Class 5 it says officially but in reality this is a race that could be significantly better class than that with the unbeaten pair Estidama (Haggas) and Whispering Romance (Appleby) taking on Al Agaila trained by the Crisfords.

Whispering Romance scrambled home on debut here in a blanket finish and given her yearling price of 1,450,000gns something more impressive might have been expected?

Preference is for Estidama who was green on debut at Southwell but won readily and looks an exciting prospect.

DAQMAN’S BETS

2.35 Lingfield (win 10, nap)
BET 8.7pts win COTOPAXI MOON

3.35 Leicester (win 10)
BET 2.4pts win OXYGEN

7.00 Kempton (win 10)
BET 5pts win ESTIDAMA


What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….

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.

Did you know? DAQMAN’s tips are posted each and every day so he’s always on hand to help with your horse racing betting.


DAQMAN Weds: Kempton NAP
DAQSTATS Weds: Kempton NAP
THE STRIKER Weds: MAN U v LEEDS
THE STRIKER Weds: Sunderland v Fulham (FA Cup)
THE EDGE Thurs: India v Australia 1st Test
PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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