ANOTHER WINNING JACKPOT FOR DAQMAN: Saturday king Daqman started the new year where he left off in 2011 with a third winning jackpot race from the last four through Hold Fast (WON 7-2).

26 POINTS PROFIT: This followed Le Beau Bai (WON 10-1) and Unaccompanied (WON 10-3). He also named Hold On Julio (WON 5-2) for a profit on the day of 26 points.

Mind the gap! Lack of a running rail at Sandown Park cost me three wins in a row yesterday, when the nap on Colour Squadron was swerved away by a short head.

To complain about this is to run the risk of being told that I’m talking through my pocket. You bet I am, and power to every punter who tries to make his voice heard.

While the Stewards are sat in the comfort of a telly-filled room counting whip strokes, it wouldn’t take much manpower or initiative for a few groundstaff to install the plastic Lego railing across the mouth of the exposed track.

As I warned in yesterday’s column, I revised my bet on Colour Squadron downwards from banker stakes to nap, because I feared it would be a tactical race. It was worse than I thought.

Jockeys usually decide as they mill round at the start who is likely to go on but there was no natural front-runner here, and it was hard to tell from the stands, or on ‘the telly’, whether they were ‘off’ or not, as they dithered, then crawled, hoping ‘somebody else’ would take them along.

Colour Squadron eventually did so, and I can’t be sure now whether he lost the race at the start or the finish. Or both!

I was on two gambles out of three, Hold Fast (very late flood of money from 6-1), and Hold On Julio (always handicapped to win despite making mistakes) but not Ciceron in my column.

This is an area I find difficult. Pricewise, writing the day before, cannot be concerned, within reason, what odds are actually available but what are on offer at the time of writing.

By my own time of writing, the following morning, I am already aware that his selections are shortening up and, in many cases, are no longer the value that was claimed for them.

I chose from Alarazi, Attaglance, Higgy’s Ragazzo, Ciceron and Cotillion (see Archive), and took what was left of the value, complaining that the market would be impossible to read for ‘real money’, because of Pricewise punters.

I was wrong. Of his two bets, Lucaindubai, was backed in the usual twin flurries from the Pricewise faithful: early doors and when the market opened on the track.

But nothing like the money for Ciceron. It became clear that this was an old-fashioned gamble. You only had to check out the horse’s past betting patterns to see that.

Before back-to-back wins at Taunton last year, and immediately after a hat-trick, Ciceron had been 11-1, 25-1 and 33-1, but for those five wins was 3-1, 4-5, 8-11, 8-1 and 11-4.

Before his Sandown win yesterday, Ciceron had been 33-1, 33-1 again, 25-1 and 50-1 and something becomes patently obvious.

Not only does this yard know ‘when’ but it knows ‘when not’ and this is leaked and widely known to the betting community at large, or else the bookies’ grapevine acknowledges the validity of some of the bets and goes into ‘free fall paranoia’.

There are no other circumstances in which the market can behave so knowledgeably and so abruptly and surely, as to make the massive difference between a rank outsider and a short-priced winner on the scale of 50-1 one race and 8-11 another.

It was ‘one of Venetia’s’ all right, and good luck to her. I should have followed the old professional’s code. If the price is too big, ‘leave a pound’ on it even if you don’t fancy it; if it’s massively too short for no apparent reason, at least save on it, on the grounds that somebody must know something.

So it was that one winner swerved away from me, while I swerved another one because my readers might not get a price and because I was unaware of the gamble that would ensue.

‘If’ and ‘but’ and ‘might’ and ‘maybe’ are all part and parcel of betting on horses but only these rules will keep you winning regularly:

Number 1: Know what price you want, and hone this ability to price up the runners, so that you’ll know whether a horse is value for betting purposes.

Number 2: Examine, and re-examine, as I have done here, the circumstances of success and failure. There’s always another day, and another reason to be wise to the price.

Venetia Williams is ‘at home’ today (Hereford), ironically with a runner called Lightning Strike (2.30). Can lightning strike twice in two days?

Here’s the irony. This horse has the following form: lost 66-1, next time out won 9-4 favourite; lost 25-1, 22-1 and 50-1 in consecutive races, next time out won 5-4 favourite; lost 33-1 and 10-1, next two races won evens, won 8-11.

Pricewise’s Tom Segal makes no bones about following up his Venetia coup with another Williams horse today, Niceonefrankie (3.30). Past SP record: lost 20-1, lost 20-1, lost 10-1, lost 6-1, won 3-1.

Lightning Strike’s current market pattern: 28-1, 16-1, 14-1, 20-1. Niceonefrankie’s: 16-1, 33-1, 33-1. This morning as I write, Niceonefrankie, forecast 6-1, moved to the head of the Betdaq market as 4.0 favourite. Lightning Strike was 6.2 fourth favourite.

But Venetia’s so-called star bumper contender, Dungeness (4.00), forecast 11-8, was 5.4, a dog on a raft, eased into third spot behind – more irony? – Up To Something.

BET 1.3pts win and place CRUISE IN STYLE (1.30 Hereford)
BET 6.6pts win (nap) NICEONEFRANKIE (3.30 Hereford)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 3 x 3pt win doubles and 1pt win treble CASTLE CONFLICT (1.00 Hereford), JOHNNY OWEN (1.30 Hereford) and UP TO SOMETHING (4.00 Hereford)

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