FOUR NAPS: JUST CHECK IT OUT! Daqman landed his fourth winning nap of the week yesterday, thanks to a do-or-die ride by Sam Twiston-Davies at Fontwell on Checkitout, who was determined to doss much of the way. Daqman’s day was profitable again; it even paid for his ante-post bet for Cheltenham.

WON 11-8 CHECKITOUT (Sunday nap)
WON 11-4 TOMMY DE VITO (Thursday nap)
WON 4-6 BLUE TRAIL (Tuesday supernap)

TODAY: Fortune Cookies and plans for a Dublin Festival countdown ahead of a big weekend for Irish racing and Cheltenham betting.


Future top stayers. That’s my view of Stattler and Farouk d’Alene after they left yesterday’s diminished Naas novice-chase field 17 lengths and more behind.

The market warned us that Stattler was highly regarded despite only one previous chase. Apart from being flat-footed down the back, he jumped better than Farouk d’Alene.

But a longer distance and soft ground will help that one’s fluency and stamina, and I still prefer him for the NH Chase at Cheltenham over 3m 6f, for which I took 15.0 on BETDAQ yesterday.

FORTUNE COOKIES: Both Stattler, now 4.3 for Cheltenham, and Farouk d’Alene, in to 11.0, are added to the Fortune Cookies list from which Vienna Court is deleted.

I’m hoping to see Commodore do well for the Cookies in the Haydock Park Grand National Trial on February 15 but there’s a big weekend ahead before that, and it’s all about the Irish again.

⏰ COUNTDOWN: It’s the final trials meeting for Cheltenham, but it’s a festival in its own right with 13 chases and hurdles, and two bumpers.
Look out for the Fortune Cookies acceptors and ‘See How They Won’, a profile of each race, with stats and the strength of the race from past winners.

The countdown will include ABC guides to the two best-quality betting races from the big four, as follows:
Saturday: Dublin Festival, Leopardstown: Irish Arkle and Irish Gold Cup
Sunday: Dublin Festival, Leopardstown: Dublin Chase, Irish Champion Hurdle


3.00 Hereford I’m always wary of three runner races and not because of the ‘beware the outsider of three’ conspiracy theories. I think it’s probably more down to the fact that they become a lot more tactical and that’s not always easy to predict in advance. A bit like a phase of snooker becoming prolonged safety play if you like.

That said, there looks a bet in this race – which started off as a four runner contest but Not Available (appropriately named) is a non runner.

Prince Escalus looks the bet as he can easily be considered a winner without (well, just a small) penalty. He was pipped a short head at Wetherby last time out having seemingly not enjoyed his first visit there and taking the long route round. He looked unlucky and the handicapper has raised him just a pound – if the photo had bobbed the other way he’d probably have another 3lb (minimum) on his back this afternoon.

His two rivals are coming here with something to prove. Eritage is a class dropper but was beaten 32 lengths at Newbury last time out – he sets off like the proverbial bat out of hell (RIP Meat Loaf) but be a bit chancey at some of his obstacles and hopefully the other jockeys will be well aware of his style and not give him too much free reign.

The outsider of three, at least in mid-morning trading on BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE, is Monsieur Lecoq who is fitted with blinkers for the first time having seen his form tail off – admittedly in much better company. The drop back in class will help – I’m less sure about the going – all his wins so far have come with give in the ground.


7.00 Wolverhampton I’m not going to be first in the queue to back Flatley here. The Adrian Wintle trained runner has had plenty of chances to deliver and doesn’t seem to be on an improving curve. Indeed, he will probably need to improve on his Kempton fourth last time out to win this.

He has a couple of decent looking closely matched rivals in Raajil and Chim Chimney who are both lightly raced and capable of further improvement.

Preference is for Raajil who beat Chim Chimney at Southwell and is expected to confirm that form.


7.30 Wolverhampton Thapa Vc is only up a pound for his course and distance win last time out and can go in again. He joined the Mark Rimell yard from Sir Mark Prescott and might be a rare improver from that yard!

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 10 points)
BET 7.8pts win (nap) PRINCE ESCALUS (3.00 Hereford)
BET 4.0pts win RAAJIL (7.00 Wolverhampton)
BET 5.0pts win THAPA VC (7.30 Wolverhampton)

What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….

Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.