LONG SHOTS ARE ‘GO’ ON CRAZY DAY OF HEAVY AND FIRM GROUND: It’s the silly season in racing, with Folkestone – going forecast good to firm – having had to water, while Newcastle is abandoned because of heavy ground, leaving five meetings of various going descriptions. As trainers struggle to locate the right surface, maybe long prices are the order of the day.

The handicapper is not always right. And he may have got it wrong in the case of Bless You at Folkestone today. He’s dropped the filly’s rating a few precious pounds. But her demotion has come for racing on soft ground, which she hates.

And Bless You (3.55) – I see 19.0 offers on BETDAQ this morning – is back to a sound surface for the Henry Candy stable that excels with sprinters and landed a gamble at Bath on Wednesday.

I suggested the other day that Ed Dunlop would have a good run about now, and I see he has shot to the top of the Racing Post ‘in form’ list, with two wins from his last three runners.

His Red Lover (5.40) – a huge 14.5 on BETDAQ – is another outsider this morning that should appreciate the firmish ground on the seaside track, and has the drive of Richard Hughes to help.

There’s a seemingly progressive sort in the race, Watheeq, but it’s a surprise to see him kept to such a low level, though maybe Roger Varian thinks the gelding needs further education.

My local cobbler (yes, I’m still so poor I have my boots mended) ‘had it off’ a week or so ago when Ponte Di Rosa was nailed on at 18-1 from out of the handicap (so the handicapper was well wrong that time, wasn’t he).

Ponte De Rosa (4.20 Musselburgh) is considered good for the follow-up today, though maybe I should be the ‘sole’ of discretion. He is a good stakes saver for those long shots.

At Chester, the stables of David Barron (6.50 Ptolemy) and William Haggas (8.25 District Attorney) have 20-25% strike rates when they put one into a handicap for the first time.

This pair have the essential low draw for this frying-pan track: District Attorney is eminently backable at 8.8 on the Daq, with 5.0 Ptolemy a handy safety valve.

It’s time for a world view of horses names: there are three Ptolemys racing right now, including one in Australia. What would the Aussies say if they came over with Black Caviar and found a Pommie version? No, don’t answer that; don’t even go there.

I shall try another handicap debut for another stable I forecast for a turn of fortunes, that of Sir Michael Stoute, which was not such a difficult prophecy after he came good at Royal Ascot.

Pistol (7.35 Newmarket) has done well enough in maidens, and has a reasonable enough opening mark, to suggest that this gelded son of High Chaparral should earn his corn and step up to Canadian oats.

Brian Meehan won the race last year and he applies blinkers and Kieren Fallon to the task of bringing home Bayan in front.

Pistol and Bayan have to give away a stone to the favourite, Lady Kashaan, but maybe the handicapper has got it right this time.

BET 1pt win and place BLESS YOU (3.55 Folkestone)
BET 11pts win (nap) PONTE DE ROSA (4.20 Musselburgh)
BET 1.4pts win and place RED LOVER, and 3pts win (stakes saver) WATHEEQ (5.40 Folkestone)
BET 5pts win PTOLEMY (6.50 Chester)
BET 4.4pts win BAYAN and 3pts win PISTOL (7.35 Newmarket)
BET 2.5pts win DISTRICT ATTORNEY (8.25 Chester)

* Daqman’s selections are backed to win 20 points so, if you divide 20 by his stake, you know the Betdaq offer taken at the time of writing.

* Points are what you make them: if you bet in tenners, then 4pts win is £40; 3.2pts win is £32 (in fivers, those stakes would be £20 and £16). Daqman bets to a level return so that you can easily assess his tipping ability.

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