ECLIPSE MEETING OPENS WITH FAIR VALUE ON BETDAQ: Fair Value at 6.6 this morning was Daqman’s first sortie into Sandown for the two-day meeting culminating in tomorrow’s Eclipse, now wide open after the defection of So You Think.

‘BEST’ WAY TO CUT LOSSES: Daqman found it hard going yesterday but the defeat of favourite Best Trip (unplaced 9-4 favourite) saved some of the day when landing another lay. There’s another one this afternoon.

System doing well: send more money. The old betting standby of following beaten Royal Ascot two-year-olds came a cropper yesterday when Hasopop had a pop at a pair of them and beat them both at Yarmouth. Two more try to set the record straight in the Listed juvenile at Sandown (2.50) today.

2.20 Sandown Not a winning favourite in sight in the history of this race, with winners from 7-2 to 66-1 in the last decade, the majority averaging out at around 8-1 SP.

Winners by stall in the last six years (6, 7, 4, 1, 4, 2) suggest very little hope for the high numbers, particularly with Fair Value in six.

After just fading out of it over 6f on the soft last time, Fair Value may not be caught over this furlong shorter trip, back on the right terrain. Fair Value, too, at 6.6 on BETDAQ this morning.

2.50 Sandown: That brace of Ascot runners beaten at Yarmouth yesterday was Ajmany from the Windsor Castle and Ocean Applause from the Norfollk.

Morawij, three places in front of Ocean Applause at Ascot, is favourite in this Listed to beat Lasilia, who is trying to hold up the Queen Mary form.

She was sixth in that race, won by Ceiling Kitty, who was completing a hat-trick, and the runner-up, Hoyam (three lengths in front of Lasilia), won at Windsor on Monday.

Normally, the Queen Mary would be much better quality than the Norfolk but, as this is colt versus filly, I would expect them to bet close to even money Morawij and something around 4-1 or 5-1 Lasilia.

Instead, I find Morawij at 5-2 on this morning, with Lasilia a 7.8 offer. That can’t be. Win or lose, I’ll have a pound of that 7.8. It seems to be value.

4.00 Sandown: Afsare hasn’t scored for two years but ante-post Eclipse punters of Crackerjack King will be hoping today is the day, since the pair were separated by only two lengths or so last time Afsare ran in May.

All the Cumani gelding’s success in 2010 was on good-to-firm ground so the going prediction of ‘80% chance of rain’ could be a negative, not fair on Afsare.

Cai Shen, unlucky in the Royal Hunt Cup and now back to the trip of his narrow defeat in the Winter Derby, is too big at 8.2 this morning, since he was also second on good to soft in the usual massive field for the Britannia last year.

Songcraft had good form in Meydan but Dubai success has not carried forward to UK racing this year. The likely improvers on their records are Farhaan and Tazahum.

But John Dunlop (Farhaan) has had only three winners all year and the SP of his last 12 runners gives an indication of stable form: 50-1, 40-1, 33-1 (twice), 28-1, 25-1 (twice), 14-1 and 12-1 are among them.

On the other hand, Sir Michael Stoute (Tazahum, showing 9.1 in the orange) had his string jumping in June, and 9 of his last 11 runners have reached the frame. He is a past master at improving horses kept in training at four and five.

4.35 Sandown: Three-year-olds have a good record in this, with five wins in the last nine years, and Encke is very strong in the markets this morning. It was 10.0 bar one when I checked the Daq.

He is another in the category of Most Improved, who missed the Classics after a setback but returned to beat the Guineas third in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

There the likeness ends, since Encke, who was touted for the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile but was injured, is brought back in this lowly handicap.

Nevertheless, if he is a potential ‘Group horse in a handicap’, any odds against (he was 2.64) this morning were worth taking until we see how the market determines his chance nearer the ‘off’ time.

BET 3.5pts win FAIR VALUE (2.20 Sandown)
BET 2.9pts win LASILIA (2.50 Sandown)
LAY 10pts AFSARE and BET 2.7pts win CAI SHEN and 2.4pts win TAZAHUM (4.00 Sandown)
BET 11.4pts win (nap) ENCKE (4.35 Sandown)

* Daqman’s selections are backed to win 20 points (unless otherwise stated) so, if you divide 20 by his stake, you know the Betdaq offer taken at the time of writing. The bets are geared to a level return so that you can easily assess profits and loss.

* Points are what you make them: if you bet in tenners, then 4pts win is £40; 3.2pts win is £32 (so 2.9pts win reflects a 6.8-1 chance and requires £29 at £10 unit stakes).

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