HOW 7-1 SCORER DAQMAN WINGED 75 POINTS PROFIT: Daqman’s best return yesterday was On Borrowed Wings (WON 7-1), with his naps run ending at three consecutive (100-30, 11-4 and 9-4), giving him 55 points profit on the last four, and his lays at five in a row, for a 20-point profit on the last six.
1.35 Haydock (Victor Ludorum) Mujik Borget was in the frame in a top juvenile event at Auteuil, form streets ahead of Une Artiste, but they are reversed in the betting here, with the 5.2 Moujik to my ears.
1.50 Ascot (Reynoldstown Chase) Nicky Henderson goes for a hat-trick with Bobs Worth, following Master Of The Hall and Burton Port, subsequently second in the RSA.
The last time the Reynoldstown-RSA double was done, it was by Albertas Run (2008) with Ruby Walsh picking up a spare ride in today’s trial and Tony McCoy doing the business at Cheltenham.
Ruby now rides Silviniaco Conti, who has a big chance here on his running behind Grands Crus at Kempton when he finished three lengths in front of Bobs Worth, whose best form is on the tougher tracks of Cheltenham and Newbury.
But signals from the stables suggest their Kempton positions will be reversed: Bobs Worth is expected to improve after a breathing op and ‘Conti’ – three times Bob’s price for the RSA – has ‘no plans made for him yet,’ according to Paul Nicholls in the trade paper.
Alan King’s yard was back in business yesterday with Montbazon, and his Flemensfirth gelding Invictus – returning to a flat track – is better than his Cheltenham defeat suggests, now stepped up in trip.
Front-runner Alfie Spinner will make it a real test of stamina but, with muddy waters about the front two, I’ll splash out on Invictus at a big 8.2, as I write.
2.25 Ascot Pricewise may prove to be right about Viking Blond but I’ll pass: it’s hard to back a ‘Twiston’ at the moment with the yard struggling on one winner from 15 starters.
What is astonishing is the market reaction to the stable’s runners: many have traded as if they had no chance, with 150-1, 100-1, 66-1, 33-1, 28-1, 25-1 (twice), 22-1, 20-1 and 16-1 among their last 13 SPs in three days, and Pricewise’s own paper revealing that the Naunton horses are running to only 7% of their ability on known form.
The bottom four in the race – including Viking Blond – are all out of the handicap. He looks likely to do battle for the lead early on with Penny Max and Quilimar, with Cappa Bleu in the van and suited by the strong pace.
Cappa Bleu put up a game performance on today’s ground at Haydock and a good run in the Welsh Grand National over a trip too far and on heavy (Viking Blond pulled up), and I grabbed a bit of 9.0 this morning.
Exmoor Ranger has his ground and was a good CD winner in October but is error prone, which cost him a place when Quilimar was third at Sandown in January. The 12.0 about Ranger builds in some of the risk.
Of the two CD Listed winners, Massini’s Maguire is now 13lb better off with The Minack since they met in December. Massini would take this on his old form; he hasn’t won since he beat Exmoor Ranger in October 2010 but, again, 16.5 takes care of a lot of risk about a horse that’s in fine form at home again.
2.45 Haydock (Rendlesham Hurdle) Baracouda (2002) won this on his way to the Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle but typical outcome for the winner is a place in the frame for what is now the World Hurdle.
That’s what Cross Kennon did last year (fourth to Big Buck’s at Cheltenham) and he’s back for more today, penalized for his 2011 success and needing to bounce back after lack-lustre runs this term.
But Restless Harry has twice finished further behind Big Buck’s than he did, and the ‘old men’ of the party, Powerstation, Kayf Aramis and Reindeer Dippin would have to defy the stats for only the second time in nine years.
Featherbed Lane is up in trip but is a full brother to Master Of The Hall who won the Reynoldstown on today’s Ascot card and seems to be the one to put with Cross Kennon.
2.50 Lingfield There has been no winner of this over the age of five and none with less than 8st 10lb, so a quality improver at class-2 level is what you are looking for.
Crystal Gal can do better than that: she’s a Listed winner, dropping back from Group 3. If we knew she could act on the surface – and Lucy Wadham obviously thinks so – 17.0 on Betdaq this morning would be plum loco.
3.00 Ascot Chase Riverside Theatre, returning from injury, hasn’t raced since he won this last year (Gauvain 10 lengths second) but previous winners were second in the Gold Cup that year (Kauto Star) and second in the Ryanair (Voy Por Ustedes).
Kauto Star’s half-brother, Kauto Stone, was second in the Tingle Creek, an impressive performance at a trip short of his best against a classic two-miler, Sizing Europe.
But the fourth horse that day, Imsingingtheblues, was earlier beaten further by Medermit (Cheltenham, December 10), who has his ground today and failed by less than a length to give the winner 12lb in that Cheltenham race.
3.20 Haydock Park Grand National Trial Winning form in good company over 3m is essential, with winners coming from out of the handicap (in 2006 and 2007) right up to 11st 12lb., so no real help from the stats.
There’s not much between Giles Cross and Sona Sasta in a line through Le Beau Bai, yet – at 12.0 offers – Sona Sasta is double the price, as I write, and that line takes care of Rey Nacarado.
I can’t have Some Target, as he’s only ever won right-handed and I shall try Always Right (10.5), who loves the mud and beat some of the principals here when third in the Scottish Grand National
3.35 Ascot Jackdaws Castle has struggled to find a rider for its lightweights. Now they have Maurice Linehan, who ran a cracker yesterday to get close to Zarkandar on a 14-1 outsider.
Linehan’s 7lb claim should help Eastlake, who would have been thereabouts in Swincombe Flame’s race at Kempton but for stumbling on the bend.
Orzare is in a similar situation with Smad Place; though he seemed held when he blundered at the last, he’s 5lb better off.
Bourne is also claimed off and the grey is back to his winning distance. Both he and Eastlake should be able to sit in, as Swincombe Flame and Valid Reason try to shake them off from the front.
But the one they all have to beat is Smad Place, who was impressive in that Orzare race. Alan King is hoping this one can show his class here and take his place in the World Hurdle line-up.
BET 4.7pts win MUJIK BORGET and 3pts win (stakes saver) UNE ARTISTE (1.35 Haydock)
BET 2.7pts win INVICTUS (1.50 Ascot)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 3.7pts win CAPPA BLEU and 1.9pts win and place MASSINI’S MAGUIRE (2.25 Ascot)
BET 2.4pts win CROSS KENNON and 1.5pts win (stakes saver) FEATHERBED LANE (2.45 Haydock)
BET 1.25pts win and place CRYSTAL GAL (2.50 Lingfield)
BET 4.4pts win MEDERMIT and 2.7pts win (stakes saver) RIVERSIDE THEATRE (2.00 Ascot)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 6.3pts win (nap) SMAD PLACE, 3.1pts win EASTLAKE and 2.1pts win BOURNE (3.35 Ascot)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: 3.1pts win ALWAYS RIGHT and 2.7pts win SONA SASTA (3.20 Haydock)
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