STAR NAMES HIDDEN IN THE TRIALS: Remember Frankel, Enable and Golden Horn? They started their Classic careers in trials which get under way this week and take us to Newmarket, York and Chester. Daqman sets the scene.

LOOK OUT FOR HORSES TO FOLLOW: Daqman introduces his rules of play as the season gets under way, and will add his successful horses-to-follow features, Early Birds and Fortune Cookies.


The real racing starts tomorrow. They don’t put obstacles in the way, as they do at Cheltenham and Aintree. But be warned that the leaner more athletic and faster Flat horses are dominated by the three-year-olds, who were babies last year.

Some, like humans, will start to grow up now, mentally and physically; others will never learn.

To bet on one of them now for the Derby would be to assume that last year’s form will stand or that last year’s potential will come to fruition. Or both.

Some punters will make those assumptions to choose from among the three-year-olds, even in handicaps restricted to that age group.

This assumes that their two-year-old ratings were not only ‘right’ last year but also that they will work out the same this! In fact the youngsters will improve, stay about the same or go backwards (‘not train on’).

Rule No 1 Last year was last year, this year is this, as far as three-year-olds are concerned. You won’t have a set of helpful ratings until Derby day!

Rule No 2 Such are false assumptions in the market place that you can still find edges in all races. The bookies won’t change their system but BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE will have the same low percentages to work from. More on that later. Meanwhile…

Rule No 3 Your first real chance of trapping a Classic winner – Guineas, Derby and Oaks – is to watch each Spring trial, starting this week. Watch the race; play it back; finally, look again at each individual performance.

Remember how we did that with Enable? We spotted her latent class, that the lightest of touches from Frankie Dettori prompted a gear change which might devastate her contemporaries.

She would be a Daqman Fortune Cookie for years to come. Form after we spotted her: 1111111111122110. Is there another Enable in the trials that start this week?

⭕ 2.25 Newmarket, tomorrow (Free Handicap) Has not produced a Guineas winner since Mystiko for Clive Brittain in 1991. Last year’s winner came to the race rated 107.. and that’s still his mark today!

⭕ 3.35 Newmarket, tomorrow (Nell Gwyn Stakes) The winners in the four seasons of this fillies-only test between 2016 and 2019 failed to take another race – not a one!

It was fashionable once and in six magic seasons produced Fairy Footsteps, Pebbles, Oh So Sharp and Sonic Lady, but we’re talking nearly 40 years ago!

⭕ 3.35 Newmarket, Wednesday (Craven Stakes) Famous in modern times for producing a sequence of Team Hannon heroes – Trumpet Major, Toronado, Toormore (2012-14) – but excelled itself in 2018 when the subsequent Epsom Derby winner Masar won the Craven nine lengths.

⭕ 3.35 Newmarket, Thursday (Feilden Stakes) This Listed-only trial was second rate for many years, though with the occasional star player.

Then it suddenly threw up champions Intello (2013 French Derby win and Arc third) and Golden Horn (2015 Epsom Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc winner).

⭕ 2.25 Newbury, Saturday (Fred Darling Stakes) One-time much favoured by Noel Murless, Michael Stoute, John Dunlop and Henry Cecil, all master trainers of the filly, as is its recent principal protagonist Ralph Beckett (2010, 2012 and 2015 winners).

⭕ 3.00 Newbury, Saturday (Greenham Stakes) Brought back to favour by a certain big player in 2011 (is it all that long ago?).. Frankel. He moved like the wind; blew the opposition away. Form figures: 11111111111111.


3.05 Pontefract Autumn Festival was a complete revelation on his handicap and turf debut at Redcar last week. The David O’Meara trained runner bolted home by nearly four lengths and it’s no surprise to see the handler get him out again quickly before the handicapper has his say.

He won quickly pulled clear and won going away suggesting this stiffer Pontefract circuit should hold no fears and he again gets the soft ground.

The danger could be that Ba Na Hills makes a similarly impressive turf debut – he won over seven furlongs at Newcastle last time out on the all-weather and is up in distance and 2lb in the weights after that success. His form prior to that was quite modest though and I think Autumn Festival has a few more ticks in the boxes today and can overcome his 6lb statutory penalty.


4.50 Pontefract Am fond of this stayers challenge at Pontefract as it represents a tough test over the 2m 5f and usually it’s easy to rule out a few on stamina grounds alone, especially given the soft ground conditions we have today.

Beggarman was a beaten favourite when last seen on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in January but only narrowly beaten.

His trainer Hughie Morrison has form figures of 221 with his last three runners but Beggarman has needed the outing after a break previously and so far has yet to prove he is as effective on the turf as he is on the all-weather. A further negative would be that he hasn’t run too well previously with give in the ground.

As such, he looks a vulnerable favourite to me and preference goes to the John Berry trained Dereham who ran well here last October when second over the slightly shorter 2m 2f trip. He looked a little unlucky that day too.

A recent spin on the all-weather at Chelmsford should have tuned him up nicely for this.


5.40 Windsor Trainer Kevin Philippart De Foy has saddled three winners from his last 11 runners and would have a good chance of improving those stats with Tiare – his only runner on Monday.

The three-year-old showed plenty of promise on her handicap debut at Kempton last month when finishing third and she looks to have improved for the change of stable (from Richard Fahey) and could easily be lurking off an attractive handicap mark.

Quite a few of her rivals here are looking very exposed but the exception is Aryaah who starts handicap life after three very modest starts on the all-weather.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 10 points)
BET 10.0pts win (nap) AUTUMN FESTIVAL (3.05 Pontefract)
BET 2.4pts win DEREHAM (4.50 Pontefract)
BET 4.0pts win TIARE (5.40 Windsor)

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.