101 NAPS FOR DAQMAN THIS YEAR: Such a tricky time while Jumps form settles down but Daqman found a winning nap at Market Rasen yesterday, number 101 this year.
WON 5-6 GALIA DES LITEAUX (nap)
9.0 NEWCOMER IN CROSS COUNTRY: Cheltenham opens with a new kid on the block, lightly weighted in the featured cross country, 9.0 on the BETDAQ exchange. The nap could be a penalty kick at Newcastle, says Daqman.
CALICO COOL FOR THE SKELTONS
⭕ 1.45 Cheltenham This class-2 two-miler was becoming a strong chase with fields for two of the last three runnings held up by a top weight of 152. But it has dipped nearly a stone in quality with today’s 12st, Do Your Job rated 140.
He hasn’t been doing his job well in stronger company for Lucinda Russell over further since last Spring’s solid novice career.
Dan Skelton looks heavily armed: Calico, rated 139, is Harry’s pick but Walk In Clover is claimed off and lurking 23lb lower in the handicap.
Connections of Madara and Triple Trade were looking for rain this morning (but the forecast was sunshine), with their winning chase form over further.
It could be argued that Ballybreeze is better than the bare form but he hasn’t run since April and the most recent four fielded by Sam Drinkwater’s yard have finished an overall 124 lengths off the winner.
I’ll leave it to Calico (BETDAQ 5.6), who has had similar time off but went well here first run back last season and put in two good efforts behind Jonbon in the Spring. Jonbon would have 13st 12lb in this!
TOM TO TEACH THE YOUNGSTERS
⭕ 2.20 Cheltenham (Arkle Trial Chase) Winner a year ago, Banbridge, went on to score in the Manifesto at Aintree. Le Prezien (2016) won the Grand Annual two years after taking this.
And the only Arkle Trial winner in the decade to win the Arkle itself was Put The Kettle On (2019).
Put The Kettle On was rated 141 when he won today’s trial and Banbridge 143, which suggests that today’s race should go to Mighty Tom who, off 143, is assessed 5lb clear of Petit Tonnerre and 6lb ahead of Homme Public.
Yet the morning favourite is 134-rated JPR One, who has won only a five-runner handicap hurdle at Taunton and a three-horse novice chase at Newton Abbot.
Mighty Tom’s Navan trainer says the eight-year-old has ‘any amount of ability’ but, as you’d expect, winners of this are usually young bloods aged five and six (9-10).
Petit Tonnerre has kept good company over hurdles and finished nearly six lengths in front of Homme Public over hurdles at Ascot, despite giving that one 8lb, and was 7th in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham.
LATENIGHTPASS ON A LOW MARK
⭕ 2.55 Cheltenham (Cross Country): Back On The Lash has won the last two runnings of today’s trial but pulled up twice trying to follow up at the festival when the ground turned soft-heavy.
The going has been officially assessed at soft, good to soft in places; but the weather forecast is for sunshine all morning today, so he may get his ground.
Delta Work has won the festival race two years running, ending Tiger Roll’s sequence in 2022 and beating Galvin in March this year.
Gordon Elliott tries to turn the tables by claiming 7lb off Galvin but Delta Work has the advantage of a run back at Punchestown in October.
Diesel d’Allier is another with a ground preference: he won the second Glenfarclas test at the December meeting on good to soft before running fourth on heavy in Delta Work’s first festival triumph.
Winner of the Foxhunters over the Grand National fences at Aintree last year, Latenightpass turns to cross-country off a low mark, switched to Dan Skelton’s yard. Form after long breaks 112.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 9 Latenightpass
BROOK BEST IN FIRST HANDICAP
⭕ 4.05 Cheltenham (2m novices handicap hurdle) Current trends show a six-year sequence of winners off 11st 1lb or less, so Brook Bay and Belgoprince catch the eye.
A £20,000 three-year-old, Brook Bay went through the sales ring last December and fetched £380,000. Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding has been maturing over hurdles under Nick Scholfield, who keeps the ride for this first handicap at 9.9 on BETDAQ.
Belgoprince (BETDAQ 7.4) was sent over here in August to win the Amateurs’ Derby at Epsom for Tony Martin in a switch to the Flat, despite good novice efforts over hurdles at the big tracks: Cheltenham, Leopardstown and Navan.
Around a stone well in, equating his Flat form to hurdles, and including his 5lb claim, for a race in which Martin has previously landed a gamble.
HAALAND SHOULD SCORE AGAIN
⭕ AW: 3.05 Newcastle: You’d expect a three-year-old to win this. Gay Kelleway certainly does, hoping it’s a penalty kick for her course winner Haaland.
She booked Hollie Doyle for Haaland a month back here at Newcastle and the pair went right away from their field, beating off a pacemaking favourite who had landed an AW hat-trick in the late summer.
Now Gay has lined up Robert Havlin (38 winners for Team Gosden this year) to attempt back-to-back wins. Haaland is napped to score at 3.75.
⭕ 5.52 Newcastle The Liegeman caught the eye at bloodstock sales in the Spring and made more than treble his original price, but he hasn’t much left to stand at stud with – he’s been gelded – so here he is dropped to the bottom of the handicap heap to try to get some of the money back. BETDAQ 6.2.
1.45 Cheltenham (win 15)
BET 3pts win CALICO
2.55 Cheltenham (win 20)
BET 2.5pts win LATENIGHTPASS
3.05 Newcastle (win 15, nap)
BET 5.5pts win HAALAND
4.05 Cheltenham (win 20)
BET 3pts win BELGOPRINCE
BET 2.25pts win BROOK BAY
5.52 Newcastle (win 10)
BET 2pts win THE LIEGEMAN
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