FOUR OUT OF FIVE DAQMAN LAYS UP: If results go crazy like yesterday and you can’t back the winners, the answer is: back the losers! Every single favourite was beaten at Cheltenham but Daqman was on to them: he laid two out of two losing favourites on BETDAQ, which followed two out of three on Tuesday.

WON (4th 6-4 favourite) LUCCIA Lays Logic
WON (2nd 7-2 favourite) STUMPTOWN Lays Logic

IRELAND LEADING CHELTENHAM 15-6: Paul Nicholls struck form with Stage Star yesterday, hopefully a ‘gold’ pointer for the final day today. Nicholls and Lambourn trainer Jamie Snowden saved a complete rout by the Irish, who won the day 5-2.

OVERALL SCORE: Ireland 15, GB 6 after three days

TRAINERS: Willie Mullins (4), Henry De Bromhead (3), Gordon Elliott (3), Barry Connell, Sam Curling, Nicky Henderson, John Kiely, John McConnell, Tony Martin, Patrick Neville, Paul Nicholls, Lucinda Russell, Dan Skelton, Jamie Snowden.

JOCKEYS: Paul Townend (3), Michael O’Sullivan (2), Rachael Blackmore (2), Nico De Boinville, Harry Cobden, Keith Donoghue, Derek Fox, John Gleeson, Ben Harvey, Mr P A King, Liam McKenna, Patrick Mullins, Darragh O’Keefe, Gavin Sheehan, Harry Skelton, Sam Twiston Davies, Mark Walsh.


⭕ 1.30 Cheltenham (Triumph Hurdle)

DOING A DICKINSON The first five home in the Gold Cup (1983) for trainer Michael Dickinson could still stand for another 40 years but other Cheltenham Grade 1 chases and hurdles are set to succumb to blanket entries by Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott, now that English hopes are as thin as a bedsheet.

On the day of the Gold Cup, Willie has seven in this opener – four at the front of the market – and a runners total of 25 on the day.

The question is not who wins but which horse Willie wins with to take his third Triumph in four years.

Lossiemouth should turn the tables on Gala Marceau, the fillies fighting out the Spring Hurdle at Leopardstown when Lossiemouth was squeezed out.

For an outsider, I’ll take the Kapgarde grey, Je Garde, for the first-day-double hero Michael O’Sullivan. Trained Willie Mullins, of course.

BETDAQ value 2.65 Lossiemouth, 150 Je Garde


⭕ 2.10 Cheltenham (County Hurdle)

LITTLE THUNDER My Fortune Cookies, Green Book (4th 40-1) and Jonjo O’Neill’s An Tailliur (gambled on 6th at 10-1), ran fine races in the Pertemps Final yesterday but were well outsmarted by Liam McKenna on Good Time Jonny, another great punt for trainer Tony Martin.

Last night astute backers latched on to Jonjo’s careful planning with consistent J P McManus five-year-old, Petit Tonnerre (Little Thunder, a Pinto pony in a children’s story), dropping him back in trip to use a fast pace to win off.

Others in the winning age group (5 and 6 are 10/13) off a perfect mark – carrying no more than 11st 1lb (9/12) – include Pembroke, whose Dan Skelton yard is 3-7 in this race.

BETDAQ value 6.8 Pembroke, 40 Petit Tonnere


⭕ 2.50 Cheltenham (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle)

PEDIGREE FLAG Willie Mullins has won three of the last six but all three decent odds, not favourite. In fact, there’s been no winning favourite in nine years, and some big-odds surprises.

I shall go on pedigree and expect Shanbally Kid (a Presenting out of a Kalanisi mare) to show what he’s made of, now he’s got his head in front (runner-up boosted the Navan form).

BETDAQ value 36.0 Shanbally Kid


⭕ 3.30 Cheltenham (Gold Cup)

TOO MANY COOK(IE)S: If you want to know how strong is this field, just count the crowd of hot Fortune Cookies who qualify.

In any ordinary year, King George winner, Bravemansgame, could win (Royal Pagaille was second to him at Kempton).

Or it could be Grand National hero, Noble Yeats, who has won on the flat track (Mildmay) at Aintree, too, and right down in trip to 18 furlongs at Galway.

Noble Yeats also took the Many Clouds at Aintree which Protektorat did the year before.

Galopin Des Champs and Stattler were one-two in the Irish Gold Cup; Hewick won the American Grand National.

That’s covered them all but to have them all covered, betting-wise, would reduce us to odds on.

So we sort them like this: if the field is that good, Galopin Des Champs is too short in the market and ripe for a lay; but he’s twice beaten Stattler easily.

Hewick hasn’t raced at Cheltenham before; Protoktorat (3rd because faltered at the last) and Royale Pagaille (5th) were well beaten behind A Plus Tard for gold last year.

Bravemansgame has to be a Kauto Star to win both King George and Gold Cup but he might just be up to it, with A Plus Tard the big danger, going for the double, and Noble Yeats for a place in a slog.

Betdaq Betting Exchange 7.3 Bravemansgame


⭕ 4.10 Cheltenham (Challenge Cup hunters’ chase)

Remember On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder? Both won this two years running in the decade, and Billaway could follow their lead.

He followed up from this last year by winning the equivalent at the Punchestown festival and has taken the same route to today’s renewal from a Naas prep.

There are young bloods at the front of the market but experience counts most: the last eight winners have all been aged 10 or 11.

Billaway in first-time blinkers (Willie Mullins) and Secret Investor now in cheekpieces (Paul Nicholls) both have extra aids, as the top trainers in Ireland and England face off.

The difference is that Secret Investor prefers a sounder surface; Billaway couldn’t care less. Check the surface from the earlier races.

BETDAQ value 8.6 Billaway


⭕ 4.50 Cheltenham (Mares’ Chase)

New race in 2021: two out of two for Willie Mullins, but he also had both beaten favourites!

His 2021 beaten favourite, Elimay, went on to win the 2022 race and goes for the double today in a rematch with last year’s runner-up, Pink Legend.

Elimay was clear in the ratings last year but the top three this time are Allegorie De Vassy and Impervious (151 each) with Jeremys Flame a pound behind.

BETDAQ value 3.2 Impervious


⭕ 5.30 Cheltenham (Martin Pipe Hurdle)

GETTING-OUT STAKES It’s a mean ending to the meeting; getting-out stakes must be placed on conditional riders.

Those in form at Cheltenham this week are Jack Foley (Saylavee), Ben Harvey (Imagine), Luca Morgan (No Ordinary Joe) and Michael O’Sullivan (Spanish Harlem).

Spanish Harlem needs to improve his jumping and Saylavee looks outclassed, so I’ll take Imagine (should be suited by step up in trip) and No Ordinary Joe (has been racing at 2m but is 2-2 over 2m 4f).

BETDAQ value 8 Imagine, 18 No Ordinary Joe


+ STAR STATS 2.50 and 5.30 poor races for favourites

+ LAYS LOGIC If the Gold Cup field is so strong, the short-odds favourite, Galopin des Champs, must be a lay. I shall also lay the favourites in the 2.50 and 5.30 if they are 7-2 or shorter at the ’off’.

1.30 Cheltenham (win 20; 150 win, 30 place)
BET 1pt win and place JE GARDE

2.10 Cheltenham (win 20, win 50 total).
BET 3.5pts win PEMBROKE
BET 1pt win and place PETIT TONNERRE

2.50 Cheltenham (win 50 total)
BET 1.4pts win and 1.6pts place SHANBALLY KID

3.30 Cheltenham

4.10 Cheltenham (win 50)
BET 6.5pts win (nap) BILLAWAY

4.50 Cheltenham (win 20)

5.30 Cheltenham (win 50, win 20)
BET 3pts win IMAGINE

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