ALL TO PLAY FOR: NAP, FORTUNE COOKIE AND BULL’S-EYE BETS: Kameko facing a fight with Benbatl. Katara against the fillies form you Love. An opening buzz for Frankie Dettori. A Ladbrokes hurdle with a gorgeous and unimpeachable mare. That’s the Daqman menu in these headlines for today at Newmarket and Listowel, containing a bull’s-eye bet, a Fortune Cookie and a nap:


TOMORROW: Daqman’s guide to the Cambridgeshire and the two-year-olds’ classics at the Curragh and on the Newmarket card.


⭕  1.50 Newmarket (Rosemary Stakes) Fourteen of the last 19 winners of this Listed for fillies and mares were three-year-olds, and there’s been only one winner over the age of four.

It’s a pinstickers’ race with the last 12 years without a winning favourite, SP returns including 12-1 (twice), 16-1, 20-1, 33-1. William Haggas (3) and John Gosden (2) have shared five of the last six winners.

The field is likely to split up, with the 1,000 Guineas runner-up, Cloak of Spirits, (out of 15) setting the standard with Sceptre third Bounce The Blues and the unbeaten Bizzi Lizzi (Frankie Dettori) either side in the next-door stalls.

On the other side, out of 7, the Dubawi filly Fooraat, is a ‘hidden horse’. Beaten favourite when Cloak Of Spirits was runner-up in a Group 3 at Epsom, and down the field in heavy ground at Deauville.

Can do better on a sound surface and a conventional track. I took 8.0 Fooraat and 9.3 Bizzi Lizzi on BETDAQ. I expect punters to get busy on both.


⭕  2.25 Newmarket (Princess Royal Stakes) The Frankel grey Alpinista, runner-up to Love in the Yorkshire Oaks, seems sure to hog the market with a clear advantage in the ratings.

But my man in the long grass is hoarse with his constant whisper for Katara, who has been making rapid strides at home and on the track for Sir Michael Stoute.

I took 3.05 in the BETDAQ orange and expect to be following her, as a Fortune Cookies nomination, if today works out for her. Only around 10-1 for the fillies’ and mares’ championship at Ascot in October.

⭕  3.00 Newmarket (Rockfel Stakes) Newmarket has races to watch and not get too financially involved. Big fields or hardly any runners at all.

Yet fascinating to see the outcome of this two-year-olds’ clash between Monday (Aidan O’Brien) and Isabella Giles (Clive Cox), both rated 105 by me and ‘could be anything’, in a race O’Brien has won twice in the decade.


⭕  3.15 Listowel (Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle) Your horse has to be on top of his form to win this hurdle. For four years running it’s gone to a winner last time out.

It could mean that the 44,000-euro prize is waiting for Willie Mullins, landing him a big Listowel Festival double after Wednesday’s Kerry National win with Cabaret Queen.

Getaway Gorgeous is Willie’s only runner and the BETDAQ 5.5 taken by me is about right. Never been out of the first two (212222121) and had her 130-rated stablemate Bon Retour behind when she won at Punchestown.

The second, third and sixth had recently won their maiden and, when she was second in a Listed novice hurdle at the Galway Festival, the Gordon Elliott trained winner was completing a four-timer.

It all goes to make her weight of 10st 2lb off a 125 rating look unimpeachable on this handicap debut. Nothing to trump her.

Lakemilan Though unlucky in running (not much room, switched), still managed second in this race last year. But absent nine months. A punt at 20.0.

Hearts Are Trumps was third, a length off Lakemilan, and they’re probably weighted to finish together in the race today.

Golden Spear (eighth) is better off with them all, down 7lb, though seemingly back to form on soft-heavy in recent weeks, third in a featured handicap at the Galway Festival and second on the Flat the last day.

Tudor City, a Tony Martin stablemate of Golden Spear, won the Galway Hurdle of 2019 but, mostly seen on the Flat since, consequently has a rating of 147 which keeps him at the top of a handicap like this.

I backed my Fortune Cookie Aramon and had the 7-1 winner of this year’s Galway Hurdle, when Hearts Are Trumps was second, Tudor City seventh.

Nibblers Charm won a top handicap at Galway. He has 12lb more now but travels so well in his races and has a new partner in Darragh O’Keeffe, who won the Lartigue Hurdle on the opening day here.


⭕  3.35 Newmarket (Joel Stakes) I’m locked into Kameko for the Fortune Cookies. Is that bad? The answer overall is that Fortune Cookies always show a long-term profit if you’ve picked horses of the highest quality.

Kameko, as Group-1 mile winner twice, including the Guineas, has his chance back at the right trip in the right conditions. But…

And that’s the problem with horses to follow on the day. There’s always a ‘but’. This time it’s the weather.

There’s rain about and fast horses like Kameko and Benbatl don’t like it, and it would be a shame if we miss out on a fair-and-square face-off between these two.

Benbatl was scintillating in winning this race last year, and has the rare accolade of getting within two lengths of Winx in the Ladbroke Cox Plate. Yes, being beaten by, but to get that close to, Winx was an honour!

For all that, Benbatl is six years old now, kept on his pedestal by Meydan Group-2 successes which are obeisance to the power of the sheikhs but rarely have that level of relevance in the form book.

Benbatl’s usual distance is nine furlongs or so and staying beyond a mile is something Kameko has so far failed to do. Dettori versus Murphy in a battle of wit and wills is something to look forward to.

Rain would help Top Rank and Zabeel Prince but surely not enough to be trump cards to not one but two aces in one race. Tilsit is probably the improver but his sire’s progeny much prefer the going on top.


1.50 Newmarket (win 20)
BET 3pts win FOORAAT
BET 2.75pts win BIZZI LIZZI

2.25 Newmarket (win 20 nap)
BET 10pts win KATARA

3.15 Listowel (win 50, 12.5 place)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 2.5pts win and place LAKEMILAN

3.35 Newmarket (level stakes)
BET 20pts win KAMEKO

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