DAQMAN’S A WINNER AT ROYAL ASCOT ALREADY: Daqman fans are ahead of the game as usual, if they followed the advice for next week’s royal meeting in his column on Thursday. It was straight to the point as always.

‘MADNESS’ TO BACK THE FAVOURITE: Daqman warned that it was ‘madness’ to back the favourite for next Thursday’s Gold Cup and yesterday the horse, Rite Of Passage, was declared a non-runner.

25-1 ANTE-POST BET NOW 11-1 ON BETDAQ: Daqman declared an ante-post Gold Cup bet for Brigantin at 26.0 value offers on Betdaq. This morning the horse was down to 12.0.
EIGHT LAYS UP OUT OF 10: Daqman’s super sequence ‘gravy train’ generally hit the buffers yesterday, though he landed his eighth successful lay out of the last 10, with Marleybow (pulled up 100-30). The peak of his sequence during the week was 12111441201124211111.

54.0 SHOT GOOD VALUE FOR A PLACE AT LEAST: Daqman’s jackpot bets return today with two ‘majestic’ bets in one race at York, one of them 54.0 with a place bet in mind.

Here’s a different bet and don’t bottle it! It’s the silly weekend at Sandown and York, with the big Royal Ascot gambles just around the corner. So I’ve started my column in the champagne style we’ll get accustomed to next week. It’s all happening in my first race at York, so you don’t have long to ‘weight’ and see.

2.10 York (Queen Mother’s Cup): Katie Cooper landed her first winner in 2009, riding in this race for Tom Tate. Her success was sandwiched between wins for three-year-olds in 2008 and 2010. Now Tate and Ms Cooper are associated with the three-year-old Defence Of Duress, rated 10 clear in the Racing Post advance cards and still entered in the Irish Derby.

Serena Brotherton on Embassy Crag and Alyson Deniel on Ejteyaaz have also won it before and Mark Johnston, trainer of the 2008 winner, has brought Katie Walsh over from Ireland for the ride on Bowdler’s Magic.

Serena has a big advantage from her rails draw in three: stalls 3 (twice), 4 (twice) and 7 have won in five of the last six years. Twice in that time, stalls 1-to-5 have had all three places.

That suggests to me that Richard Fahey will win it, with course-and-distance winners Antigua Sunrise in stall four (12.5 this morning) and Trip The Light in six (at 17.0). But one edge Katie Cooper has is that she’s riding at her body weight – no ‘lead’ in the saddle – and her 9st 5lb will decide by weight how many bottles of champagne she takes away if she wins.

If there’s a market – or a bet in your local – on how much champagne Katie would win, get on 45 bottles. Now you can probably best guess the bubbly take for any other rider. I may not tip the winner but I can tip the bottle.

2.25 Sandown: First time in a handicap, the Pivotal gelding Anoint has his chance improved by the cut in the ground. Trainer Willie ‘Dancing Rain’ Haggas must have done a rain dance.

It was 11.5 bar two this morning, with only Sound Amigo supported against Anoint. It’s great to see Ollie Pears have a good horse but his ‘Amigo’ is up in grade as well as up in weight. Course-and-distance winner May’s Boy (13.5 this morning) should show.

2.55 Sandown: Though older horses have a poor record in this, the draw and the soft ground could bring in Perfect Silence (8.2 this morning after three defections).

Perfect Silence has been badly drawn the last twice: at Doncaster in November, she had to race all alone on the far side (drawn in the coffin box in one) but still won the race from 19 others; then, first time back, she got another stinker stall under a 7lb claiming girl rider but finished 5th of 16 at Newmarket, not fancied.

It’s difficult to choose between Law Of The Range, Our Jonathan and Mon Cadeaux but they’ll all have their work cut out to catch front-runner The Confessor, who looks the back-and-lay bet of the day, with 8.2 offers from which to take your position.

2.40 York Tom Tate, who trains one of my Queen Mother’s Cup bets, and also won this one last year, bids for a repeat via front-runner Balcarce Nov but the recent Nottingham winner has to overcome stall 13.

He’s had every chance of getting his own way the last twice, firstly because he was drawn three on the rail at Chester – but finished third – and last time out, when he won, because there were only three runners at Nottingham.

Pricewise in the Racing Post tells us that Balcarce Nov ‘loves York’ but he must know something I don’t know because his form figures there are 0300 (Balcarce Nov’s not Pricewise’s).

If you ditch the double-figure stalls and then turf out (pun intended) those horses aged seven and over, you are left with Harrison George, Tiger Reigns, first-time-visored Sarrsar, Leviathan and Tartan Trip as a short list.

Ages four and five are six out of eight, and they’re claiming off the six-year-old Harrison George. Leviathan has never been nearer than sixth off 88 or higher and is racing off 89 today.

That leaves Sarrsar, the consistent Tartan Trip and Tiger Reigns, who will do well to win off his highest mark, too. Both Sarrsar and Tartan Trip want rain: Sarrsar won a similar contest on the soft at Newmarket in the autumn and, though Tartan Trip has won on a sound surface, he should step up smartly with cut in the ground, being by Selkirk out of a Robellino mare.

I could bet blind here, guessing that it will rain. But, if it does rain, conditions will also suit Gunner Lindley, and a tough test would bring in veteran Group performers Classic Punch and Confront. From this distance, I’ll just have a small bet on one seemingly suited by whatever the weather, Tartan Trip (12.5 on Betdaq this morning).

3.15 York In the four years the race has been run at this time of the season, stalls 2 to 8 have filled the first two places on three consecutive occasions.

That, coincidentally, covers all bar one – the top weight – of the eight at the top of the handicap here, theoretically the best in the field. That still leaves us with a hatful of recent winners to choose from and the niggling worry that Elusive Prince, right at the foot of the handicap, is still improving.

But we can probably eliminate Seal Rock, as 11lb worse off for a couple of lengths with Forjatt (hampered) at Newmarket in April. Similarly, Cape To Rio is 10lb better with Acclamazing for four lengths there at an earlier April meeting, though Acclamazing won really well that day.

On a line through Bathwick Bear, none of those are likely to beat Majestic Myles, Desert Law or What About You (badly drawn but very well in). Majestic Myles has the upper hand on form but the two others are unexposed and could take another leap forward.

Swiss Dream’s half-sister Swiss Diva won this race in 2009 but ‘Dream’ has to take a big stride in class from two levels lower. Majestic Dubawi, on the other hand, drops in class – he doesn’t so much drop as do a Monty Python plummet – from Group 1.

With rain about, I’m looking through the wrong end of the binoculars again, but shall pick up value offers on Betdaq this morning of 58.0 Majestic Dubawi (a good place bet at 7.8), though Richard Fahey clearly has a huge chance again with one well drawn (Majestic Myles 11.5) and one well in (What About You 13.5).

3.30 Sandown: Night Carnation is 13lb better off, though she beat Ahtoug over CD in April. Both have wide draws here and Night Carnation has to fend off Move In Time and The Thrill is Gone, involved in a blanket finish with her at York.

Move In Time has already beaten Dinkum Diamond and last time out extended his authority over The Thrill Is Gone over the tough Beverley sprint course. I would lay Night Carnation but for the change of ground, which leaves me surmising Move In Time each way at 7.6.

3.50 York Sea Moon was in the Derby books in the Spring but didn’t come to hand early enough: Sir Michael Stoute – yet to cross swords with the knight elect of the racing table, Sir Henry Cecil – seems to be giving him an easy start (Sea Moon not Henry). One for your Daq Multiples.

BET 1.7pts win ANTIGUA SUNRISE and 1.25pts win TRIP THE LIGHT, with 1pt win (saver) DEFENCE OF DURESS (2.10 York)
BET 6pts win ANOINT (2.25 Sandown)
BET 1.7pts win and place TARTAN TRIP (2.40 York)
BET 2.7pts win on each PERFECT SILENCE and THE CONFESSOR (2.55 Sandown)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: 2.8pts win MAJESTIC MYLES, 2.4pts win WHAT ABOUT YOU, plus 0.5pts win and 2pts place MAJESTIC DUBAWI (3.15 York)
BET 3pts win and place MOVE IN TIME (3.30 Sandown)