DAQMAN STRIKES FOR SECOND DAY RUNNING: Daqman, who started his new staking plan with a double-whammy (successful win bet and lay in the same race) on Wednesday, was unbeaten with three bets up out of three yesterday.

TWO GAMBLES LANDED AT BETDAQ VALUE: He landed win bets with the gambled-on Above Standard (WON 8-11) and Khor Sheed (WON 15-8) and got a place return from his third bet, One For Joules (2nd 7-1).

47 POINTS PROFIT SO FAR: That gives him 47.33 at Betdaq offers from the two days, following Wednesday’s lay on Kenswick (unplaced 6-1) and win bet on Kielty’s Folly (WON 4-1).

FOLLOW THE PLAN: The rules are that each bet is staked at morning offers to win 20 points, unless otherwise stated. You can work it out by looking at the bet what price Daqman secured from those morning offers (20 divided by stake = offer price). ‘Savers’ are bets to cover the win stake on the main selection.

It’s a sin to miss Confessional!  Tim Easterby’s four-year-old has the track, the ground and the draw in his favour on the opening day of the Pitman’s Derby meeting.

Confessional (7.25 Newcastle) just missed out, second in the big-field Epsom Dash at the Derby meeting and had finished too late again, also on firm ground, when fourth going on at the finish, at the Chester May meeting.

The gelding takes after ‘grandad’, Bishop of Cashel, a better horse with cut in the ground and, as a 6f winner on soft as a two-year-old, Confessional will find the stiff Newcastle ‘five’ ideal.

Northern stables have held on to this prize, the Gosforth Park Cup, nine times in the last decade, and only Tom Dascombe, traveling the 169 miles from Malpas, can in any way be said to have mounted a southern raid today.

But Tom admits that his hand has been forced by the handicapper where Ballista is concerned: the Newmarket (July Course) second goes up a further 3lb on Saturday.

Ballista will have his work cut out from stall 2, with the runners likely to come over to the stands’ rail, though it has been done, with two winners from that stall in the last six years, one moving across early, the other staying with a small group on the far side.

The stalls are in the middle but Perfect Blossom (in 13), Silaah (9) and, particularly, front-runner Verinco (12) are all well drawn to take them across to the stands’ side, with Confessional (a cracking 8.6 this morning) held up for his run.

The spoiler is Cape Vale, drawn in 4: he tried to make all over 6f here on the far side in May and was run out of it only in the final furlong; he, too, went to Epsom last time and ran a similar race.

He may just be a pound or two high in the handicap but, to use his trainer Dandy Nicholls’ vernacular, Cape Vale, a soft-ground winner, is a ‘daft’ price at offers of 26.0 on Betdaq this morning. Newcastle’s five on this surface might just be the ‘in-between’ distance that suits him.

Is the class-3 6f winner good enough to score over 5f in class 2 off 88? ‘We’ll know after the race,’ says a non-committal Nichols.

Mon Brav is among several others who must step up in class (he’s failed twice in class 2 already) and I see Cape Vale – an ideal back and lay bet – ahead on the far rail as Confessional comes to tackle the stands-side leaders. I leave it to the judge, as Tommo would say.

Only Mark Johnston has held out for Northern stables against the might of the southern raiders in the Listed (6.50) with the score four-year-olds 5, three-year-olds four, older horses 1 in the last decade and 9 out of 10 winners 6-1 or shorter, suggesting that it’s a punters’ race.

Some of these runners have mixed it with the best: Principal Role was third in last year’s Nell Gwyn, Silver Grey ran in a Group 1 in America, Opera Gal beat a Royal Ascot winner last season, Palm Pilot ran in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, Matula ran behind 1,000 Guineas winner Blue Bunting, in October, and Crystal Gal was beaten only three lengths in last year’s Irish 1,000.

However, the handicapper tells us that Principal Role (106) is well clear, with Piano (98) then edging out four others on 95 or 96: Cracking Lass, Crystal Gal and Opera Gal – both by Galileo – and Silver Grey.

Crystal Gal, Opera Gal and Cracking Lass have already won on the soft, but Piano (dam by Pivotal) and Principal Role (out of a Sadlers Wells mare) should not be bothered by the surface.

In fact, I think it will be the making of Piano: as well as the influence of her soft-ground ‘granny’ Pivotal, progeny of her sire, Azamour, placed in a Breeders Cup and a Champion Stakes on the soft, generally have a higher percentage of success with plenty of give in the ground.

The Newcastle draw is nothing alongside Chester but the Roodeye bias can be beaten by Magic! At least it was last year when Another Magic Man won the 7.15 from stall 10. But that was on good-to-firm ground and tonight on the soft it will be doubly difficult to summon up the speed to outsmart the low draw and get across.

Even over the 7.5f, the outside gets centrifugaled back and has to drop in. The 9.20 over the same trip has been won by stalls 1 and 7 and the winner is probably housed within that draw parameter today.

My pick is Cyflymder (9.20). Neil Farley thought he might have gone close at Chester in May when this course winner on the soft couldn’t get through the pack, hampered in his run off a 23lb lower mark than his last win (class 3).

Farley will be keen to prove Cyflymder can do it, back on the Roodeye, over a more suitable trip, and with another 3lb removed by the handicapper.

BET 4.25pts win PIANO and 2.4pts win (saver) PRINCIPAL ROLE (6.50 Newcastle)
BET 2.6pts win CONFESSIONAL and 0.8pts win and place CAPE VALE (7.25 Newcastle)
BET 12pts win (nap) PUFF (8.05 Newmarket)
BET 4pts win CYFLYMDER (9.20 Chester)