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SUNNY SOUTHWELL BUT PLUMPTON LOST TO THE HEAVY RAIN: The heavy rain caused abandonment at Plumpton today and, though Newbury-in-the-mud survives, watch out for non-runners. It’s forecast ‘mostly sunny’ at Southwell and Punchestown! Whatever next, says Daqman, whose nap is at Wolverhampton.

LOOK FORWARD A WEEK TO DAQMAN’S RACE OF FUTURE STARS: Daqman needs something to look forward to and, as promised yesterday, examines a race which he thinks will find you high-level winners for the future. That’s next Thursday. He already plans a high-return bet.


2020 VISION This race can launch giants. From Arkle (1964) and Flyingbolt (1966) to Hedgehunter (2004) and Numbersixvalverde (2005) and right up to the present day with Djakadam (2015).

Your date with destiny if you’re looking for Gold Cup winners and heroes of the Aintree Grand National, and the Irish version, too, is the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park next Thursday.

Quality dipped between 2010 and 2014 with the winner’s ratings between 119 and 125 but has surged in the last three seasons to 152 (twice) and 154.

And next Thursday currently has entries off marks of 150 (three), 152 and 158 for the galloping 3m 1f of the Kilkenny course with its tough final climb in a three-furlong straight.

Not a place to drop your whip, as did the rider of the second horse home last year, Alpha Des Obeaux, for whom Gordon Elliott has the option of Sunday at Thurles or another crack at the Thyestes.

Gordon won it in 2018 with Monbeg Notorious, who could easily get his favoured heavy ground next Thursday and try to regain his Thyestes crown.

A sounder surface would help his stablemate Borice to bounce back to the form which brought him a hat-trick in the summer capped by the Galway Plate.

But the Elliott improver I’ve been looking forward to that would currently get into the race with 10st 8lb is Roaring Bull, who powered home in the big 3m chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Willie Mullins has won the Thyestes seven times this century, with among them Hedgehunter (2005 Grand National) and Djakadam (twice runner-up in the Gold Cup).

The Kilkenny man is not going to let Gordon grab this 59,000-euro prize without a fight, and will have a Closutton clan on the oche. But nothing is likely to put me off my Bull’s-eye bet!


12.55 Wolverhampton Ben Curtis has a stunning record already this year, with 22 winners in 13 days, and Paul Cole’s horses continue running to form after a splendid 2019.

He’s already had two winners in 2020, striking at 40%, one of them Dark Phoenix (BETDAQ 3.95 this morning), ridden by Curtis.

That was 11 days ago, trail-blazing over a mile at Kempton, but first-time blinkers should keep him in control for this step up in trip. He’s bred to stay even further, and has a handy rails draw for cover round the Wolver turns.


3.25 Newbury Kim Bailey has decided to swerve the mud with He’s No Trouble, so I have to look into this Corbiere Handicap again.

Last year’s winner, Mister Malarky, is thought to be a Grand National contender of the future, if not yet a Corbiere himself.

The National trainers here are Alan King (Notachance), Philip Hobbs (Samburu Shujaa), Jonjo O’Neill (Django Django) and Nigel Twiston-Davies (Scotchtown).

Scotchtown was second in the Mandarin on today’s course but the combo of tongue-tie, visors and wind op suggests they’re patching him up big time and the sticking-plaster might come off in a driving finish.

Samburu Shujaa won over hurdles on only good-to-soft ground and his chase debut on heavy last month had its positive (well backed) and negative (needs more experience over fences).

Django Django lost his hind shoes on his chasing debut. A tough customer but was very easy to back this morning, out to 10.0, and trainer Jonjo is unpredictable: you could lose your shirt as well as your shoes.

Notachance, narrowly beaten on today’s course after winning at Exeter, is just six, the same as Mister Malarky. Cheekpieces might have won him the race on the last day. He has them on today, and deserves to be favourite (3.95 in the BETDAQ orange as I write)


4.20 Southwell Les Eyre has a one-in-four strike rate at Southwell but it rises to four out of five when he uses ‘Lew’ Edmunds, and he saddles a ‘hidden horse’ here.

Amber Rock (BETDAQ 11.0) has had a poor draw on the course in the past and, when he did get a low stall, was forced wide. Gate 3 is good news today for the left-leaning four-year-old.

There’s a doubt whether the penalised 7f winner Sea Of Cool will last the trip, and nothing much now between Crazy Spin and Emojie at the revised weights on their one-two here in December.


12.55 Wolverhampton (win 20)
BET 6.75pts win (nap) DARK PHOENIX

3.25 Newbury (win 10)

4.30 Southwell (win 10)
BET 1pt win and place AMBER ROCK

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