DAQMAN NAPS THE RUNAWAY GAMBLE: Daqman yesterday napped the Southwell gamble, Springinherstep (WON 4-6), at 2.8 BETDAQ morning offers. The mare won the bumper by 11 lengths and 16 lengths.

They say that Mars is on another planet. Already favourite in a place for the 2013 Derby, the Ballydoyle colt is wisely avoiding the sodden turf of England and Ireland for his debut this afternoon.

Mars (2.25) runs on the Dundalk Polytrack on the day that Paddy Power reveal that he has been cut from 16-1 to 12-1 for Epsom. At this stage, he’s a bigger price to go into the stalls that day next June, never mind win it.

You’ll see the bookies trying to tempt you on to a dozen Derby horses from now on, as the season of ‘two-year-old classics’ gets serious.

The juvenile form and the hype has been right twice recently, with Sea The Stars and Camelot, but, in the last decade, would you have backed the likes of Kris Kin, North Light, Sir Percy, Workforce or Pour Moi very far in advance of the race, if at all?

Before that, in the previous decade, you might have latched on early to Galileo and High Chaparral, but never in a million betting years of Derby tears could you – in the summers of the Nineties – have picked the likes of Shaamit, coming to the race with only his November maiden, or Commander In Chief, who was down the pecking order at Henry Cecil’s until he came good in the Spring of his Epsom year.

Look upon the big firms as having three books: the mugs’ year-before book, the more realistic ante-post list the following Spring, and the day book on raceday. They get chronologically harder for the bookie and easier for the punter.

Mars may merely be a free slice of bread-and-butter for the bookies, or he could be the sweet treat for many punters his sire was in 2001, subsequently at stud to become the modern hub of the wheel of fortune which started its spin with the great Northern Dancer.

In fact, Mars is – as the Racing Post Spotlight puts it (though they missed out a hyphen or two) – ‘bred on the same Galileo/sprinting-Danehill-mare cross that has produced Frankel.’

One failsafe ante-post betting adage is this: if you think he’s good enough to back for the Derby now, then you should surely be punting him seriously today. And you can’t.

I’m picking on him for the nap, simply because this is a no-no day of down-in-the-dumps racing, where he’s been given a seeming ‘easy.’

With most, if not all, other runners this afternoon, the form will be of very little value, whether on the near-good ground at Ayr or in the Thames-side bog at Windsor (it could be a bit wet on the riverboat tonight, City boys!)

The quality race is the class-2 mile at Ayr (4.05), where the horses should – I say ‘should’ – be more consistent than those in the lower ranks in other races this afternoon.

Generally speaking, unless they are in sprints, older horses (Extraterrestrial, Dhaular Dhar) have a hard time of it against young improvers, whom the handicapper can’t be sure of, even on the bare form.

I said this was a bit classier than most races today, but notice that nine of the 10 runners are geldings; not a colt, nor a filly in sight. At least Dhaular Dhar is clearly well behaved as an entire but, at his age (I know how he feels), he’s probably lost interest in anything else!

Indepub has just struck form and, aged three, has most scope for improvement, but dressing ‘him’ up in cheekpieces doesn’t seem to show much confidence for a horse that’s just won a race.

The 7f specialist Karaka Jack has recently had two tries, and failed, at a mile in different company (class 2 and class 4) and, though ‘he’ is a Pivotal, seems to want genuinely good ground.

Another soft-ground-bred is Paramour, who ran a stinker when last seen in June, but makes a solo journey from Newmarket for this.

Colour Guard has won only on AW at Southwell, and Dubai Dynamo, who has a poor strike rate, is still almost as high in the handicap as he was when he hit a winning streak more than two years ago.

Oriental Scot, another Newmarket raider, who holds Sam Nombulist and Staff Sergeant on form, looks the likely threat to Paramour, though has recorded three of his four wins on firm ground at 5lb or more lower in the ratings.

It’s all ‘ifs and buts’ but I’ll take the two Newmarket raiders, Oriental Scot (9.2 on BETDAQ) and Paramour (14.5), against the field at value offers.

Staying with the classier animals, and returning to the two-year-olds, Ashaadd (7.40 Windsor) has a Gimcrack entry, and the market says he’ll be far too good for these, taking the nod from collateral Royal Ascot form.

But, at 13.0 bar three, I’m also tempted to hunt out a place bet. Half (less half a horse!) of Richard Hannon’s 15 runners in this race have been placed, and there are similar stats about backing his second string. So I’ll have a tickle on Emell (14.0 on BETDAQ, as I write).

BET 2.4pts win ORIENTAL SCOT and 1.4pts win PARAMOUR (4.05 Ayr)
BET 1.5pts win and place EMELL (7.40 Windsor)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 10pts win on each and 5pts win double: MARS (nap, 2.25 Dundalk) and ASHAADD (7.40 Windsor)

* 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. Daq Multiples are treated separately.

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