DAQMAN’S BALLY BIG WINNER WAS 17.0 ON THE DAQ: Daqman shot 36-11 clear of Pricewise as the Cheltenham value hunt stepped up a gear with our man’s stunning win and place on Ballynagour (WON 12-1), which he had grabbed at 17.0 on BETDAQ in his column yesterday.

SPRING FEVER WITH TWO BIG HITS AT 12-1: Spring Heeled (WON 12-1 from 17.5 on BETDAQ) was another 12-1 win-and-place winner as Daqman wound up the day with an all-the-way romp in the last, yet again at huge BETDAQ morning value.

71 POINTS UP AS BANKER BOOSTS THIRD WINNING DAY: Daqman was vindicated when he argued there was no value in taking sides between Big Bucks v Annie Power, rejecting both for a banker place on At Fishers Cross (3rd 9-1 from 11.5 on BETDAQ). So 13 wins in three days. Total profit 71 points.

QUESTION: Why does Daqman count place bets and lays when Pricewise doesn’t do them?
DAQMAN: More fool him! I suggest he gets up to date and includes BETDAQ in his column, from tomorrow.

QUESTION: Why didn’t you count your break-even, the saver on Faugheen, when Pricewise lost in the race?
DAQMAN: I’m counting returns only when there’s a profit.

1.30 Cheltenham (Triumph Hurdle): Azamour, Daylami, Haafhd, Galileo, Jeremy and Kalanisi. Sorry to mention these summer stars to you jumps fanatics who wouldn’t be seen dead on a Flat track.

But – Guineas hero, Derby winners and Breeders Cup holder among them – these top Group horses are all sires of recent Triumph Hurdle winners.

Even more so in today’s conditions, this race is about a speed stampede that flattens ‘the sticks’ they call hurdles and franks the racing dictum: class will out!

I can’t have tail-swishing Abbyssial, a Beneficial, who will come into his own over fences, over further. And I won’t be with the likes of Broughton, Lindenhurst, Kentucky Hyden or Guitar Pete, whose sires have yet to produce anything of note.

Plinth, by the sire of Hurricane Fly, has had extensive schooling with Robbie Power as Aidan O”Brien’s first Grade-1 hurdler since Istabraq, three times Cheltenham champion and four times Irish.

He has ground to make up on Guitar Pete and Tiger Roll, with Guitar Pete just in front of Lindenhurst and Broughton (on a line through Clarcam) but behind Royal Irish Hussar.

They’re all of a heap but, collaterally, give me a strong pointer to Rutherglen, the stayer of John Quinn’s pair. The Press is raving Broughton but, on a line through Thorpe, Rutherglen has 12lb in hand of him.

Rutherglen’s stablemate, Pearl Castle – also same stallion as Hurricane Fly, same trainer as the 2012 winner of this – was going to bypass Cheltenham for Aintree but is on the boil and has his ground.

Calipto won easily at Newbury on a soundish surface from Activial, who waits for Aintree. Paul Nicholls fancies the Triumph cavalry charge will suit his horse.

This is redemption day for Ditcheat, which must surely get something from Calipto, Lac Fontano and Silviniaco Conti but can you bet on it after their appalling week in the Cheltenham playing-field. No swings, no roundabouts so far!

DAQMAN’S VERDICT: If you back Rutherglen, you’ve got to back Pearl Castle. Plinth has a touch of class if his hurdling has been improved. Stable form suggests that Calipto might place without winning.

Royal Irish Hussar is the experienced horse but that sort is usually overtaken by lightly-raced improvers who’ve had a couple of wins.

DAQMAN’S BETS: John Quinn who won this with Countrywide Flame wants it again, and I could afford to back his pair in a 103% orange, with Pearl Castle 12.5 and Rutherglen 14.0.

I could have covered the stakes with a saver on Calipto, just in case Ditcheat wakes up but, if I have place bets on my selections, I need just one of them in the frame for comprehensive insurance. I’ve adjusted the place stakes accordingly.

2.05 Cheltenham (County Hurdle): Cheltenham experience abounds: Barizan, Alaivan, second, third and fourth in the Triumph; Cheltenian, Cinders And Ashes and Flaxen Flare, winners respectively of the Champion Bumper, Triumph Hurdle and Fred Winter; Montbazon fourth in the Supreme Novice.

A BHA ratings band of 131-139 traps every one of the last eight winners. Horses aged five and six are 8-10 and the Irish are 6-7, and I give you Eddie Harty’s Curragh trained Minella Foru, the only runner to fit all the trends.

Eddie’s had one brilliant horse, Captain Cee Bee, on which today’s pilot, Tony McCoy, won the Punchestown Ryanair. Both owned, of course, by J P McManus.

But Minella Foru was a good way behind Arctic Fire at Fairyhouse before Christmas. Arctric Fire, freshened up for this, and waited for the better ground, is Ruby Walsh’s pick of the Willie Mullins’ contingent.

Mullins won this with Thousand Stars in 2010, and Diakali, only around 7lb behind Jezki on Hattons Grace form, suggests that, if Arctic Fire is the main chance, he must be close to the top of the tree.

The seeming Mullins third string is Upazo, but he likes a sounder surface and is by Binocular’s sire, Enrique, a Group horse on the Flat whose get includes 10 winners of six-figure sums over jumps.

Another who will appreciate top of the ground is Cheltenian, who had a sound prep for this in the BF Hurdle on heavy, a race the stable used for its two previous winners of this.

Better off with Alaivan on that run. Long time no see, and eight now, but very few miles on the clock, and well backed during the week.

Despite 29 attempts, Nicky Henderson hasn’t won this since 1997, and resorts to a blanket attack with five more runners today; one of them is likely to be involved in the finish, maybe Makari.

Paul Nicholls relies on Lac Fontana, but a 12lb rise may stop him, and the stats say that he comes from the ‘wrong’ prep races. Has Alan King got Montbazon back to his Supreme Novice form of 2012? He has his ground if still good enough.

DAQMAN’S VERDICT AND BETS: Cheltenian (9.6 on BETDAQ this morning) is my pick of the past Cheltenham form, and the money is down. Arctic Fire (8.2) has to be backed as Ruby’s choice but Upazo is massive at 48.0, as the ‘ignored’ of Willie Mullins’ trio.

2.40 Cheltenham (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle): You need a Graded race winner on your side – Briar Hill, Captain Cutter, Deputy Dan, Kings Palace – with preferably a Cheltenham win on their CV. That points up Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill and Kings Palace, whose won on the New and the Old course.

A tough race for a novice, with all bar one winner in the decade having previously won over 2m 5f or more. Black mark, Briar Hill, though he’s bred to get 3m and Willie Mullins mentions him in the same breath as Vautour and Faugheen.

What I have not liked about him is that he’s hit a flat spot about three out (twice ‘niggled along’ at that stage, when asked to extend).

There are some strong sorts here in these sons of Flemensfirth, Robin des Champs, Oscar and Presenting but on today’s ground I’d prefer a Westerner, whose Western Warhorse landed Tuesday’s Arkle.

That gives me a new list of Captain Cutter, Champagne West and Deputy Dan. Captain Cutter has McCoy aboard for the final drive but needs him, as he’s been none too fluent in his prep races. And Deputy Dan didn’t beat Masters Hill at Warwick half as far as Kings Palace did at Cheltenham.

DAQMAN’S VERDICT AND BETS: Kings Palace has it all: Cheltenham form, stamina (has won up to 3m), ground preference and from the David Pipe stable in form: 4.5 on BETDAQ this morning thanks to the Willie Mullins factor.

3.20 Cheltenham Gold Cup: Bobs Worth’s Cheltenham record is an unblemished 11111 – including successively the Albert Bartlett, the RSA and the Gold Cup – and he’s been prepared solely with defence of his title in mind.

But on collateral form through First Lieutenant he has Last Instalment right on top of him, if not in front. Bob’s beaten Mouse Morris’s ‘nearly horse’ 1.5 lengths, 2.5 lengths, 8.25 lengths in three encounters. Last Instalment has beaten him nine lengths and six lengths in two.

Last Instalment met him in December 2011 and again on his comeback triumph in the Leopardstown Hennessy. Horses rarely return from injury and get back to the top but this one did, almost exactly where he left off, if the Lieutenant line is good and it certainly seems to be a path well trod by his adversary today, Bobs Worth.

We need to see resurgent stable form and some further improvement in the year-younger Silviniaco Conti, who seemed to be going well against Bobs Worth last year when he fell, but there has been no improvement.

Conti remained fairly static on 172-175 the whole of last year. Compare that with a 21lb rise in Bobs Worth’s rating between December 2012-December 2013.

Is Triolo D’Alene waiting in the wings on Bobs Worth, with Denman and Bobs Worth himself taking the Newbury Hennessy as he did on the way to their gold?

You could just as well argue that Bobs Worth’s Lexus produced Best Mate, War Of Attrition, Denman and Synchronised to win this big one and that the Leopardstown Hennessy won by Last instalment gives him the gold glint that came in advance of victories here today for Jodami and Imperial Call.

Or that Silviniaco Conti’s King George was won by subsequent champions of today in Long Run, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Kicking King and Kauto Star.

DAQMAN’S VERDICT AND BETS: The way to win in the long run is to get value and it is clear (not a guess but ‘clear’) on collateral form that Last Instalment should not be 9.2 on BETDAQ this morning to Bobs Worth’s 3.0.

It is also the case that we don’t want to get involved in another short-odds ‘hype hysteria’ Bobs Worth v Conti clash, like the Big Buck’s and Annie Power battle that turned out to be for runners-up spot!

For me, Triolo D’Alene is for another year, though I badly want him to get a place because I have 56.0 Rocky Creek for the Grand National.

Strictly, pound-for-a-length assessment of the Hennessy makes him the ‘moral’, as he gave Triolo 4lb and was beaten less than three lengths.

So I go Last Instalment win and place in a magnificent punter-friendly 100% orange, in which layers are paying out precisely what backers put in. Amazing value from BETDAQ.

DAQMAN’S GOLD CUP 1-2-3: Last Instalment 1, Bobs Worth 2, Silviniaco Conti 3.

4.00 Cheltenham (The Foxhunter) I was always told to pick from the young horses which are in front of the old-timers in the market, the cut-off point today being Pearlysteps.

So On the Fringe, Harbour Court, Tammys Hill. Harbour Court needs to be fresh. Tammys Hill seems to have improved past On The Fringe so is ‘wrong’ at 9.2 on BETDAQ to his 5.3 this morning.

4.40 Cheltenham, (Martin Pipe Hurdle): David Pipe’s form figures for his dad’s race are 30000 but Vieux Lion Rouge (8.4 on BETDAQ) , six wins from seven starts, gives him a great chance, with the yard in top form.

5.15 Cheltenham (Grand Annual) The turnkey stat is that there has been no success from 11st or above in 14 seasons (and in 21 of the last 25 years), so I’ll take a punt on a good-ground lover who’s with a shrewd handicap stable and has form in a big field at Cheltenham.

Changing The Guard is 28.0 on BETDAQ, as I write, and an appropriate valediction for a meeting that has seen the old guard give way to the new in the championship races.

BET 2.6pts win and 3.4pts place PEARL CASTLE, and 2.3pts win and 2.7pts place RUTHERGLEN (1.30 Cheltenham)
BET 4pts win ARCTIC FIRE, 3.5pts win CHELTENIAN and 0.6pts win and place UPAZO (2.05 Cheltenham)
BET 8.5pts win KINGS PALACE and 5pts win (stakes saver) BRIAR HILL (2.40 Cheltenham)
BET 3.6pts win and 6.4pts place (place nap) LAST INSTALMENT (3.20 Cheltenham)
BET 3.6pts win and place TAMMYS HILL (4.00 Cheltenham)
BET 4pts win and place VIEUX LION ROUGE (4.40 Cheltenham)
BET 1.1pt win and place CHANGING THE GUARD (5.15 Cheltenham)
HORSES TO FOLLOW: Briar Hill (2.40 Cheltenham) and Silviniaco Conti (3.20 Cheltenham)

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