DAQMAN GOES FOR A NAPS HAT-TRICK: The Curragh today, which features the Irish 1,000 Guineas, is the scene of a best-bets treble bid by Daqman after Michelangelo (WON 4-6) and Sea Moon (WON 2-7). Though nothing much else went right for him yesterday (‘I mugged myself following three-year-olds’), he’s still on 160 points profit in three days.

The mud has become a road in a matter of days. Every Saturday meeting was returned with ‘firm’ in the going descriptions; records were broken and the 2,000 Guineas form stood on its head. Three-year-olds were run off their feet like babies by the older horses.

For owners and trainers, complaints about overwatering became complaints about underwatering; for punters, the going was easier, just as long as they used the one tool in their favour: the market.

If you needed to know ‘will this act on the ground’, you asked the market. Up came four winners in a row at 9-2 or less at Haydock; five out of seven at 4-1 or lower at Goodwood; and five out of seven at 5-1 or less at Chester.

The Curragh wasn’t so easy and – Murphy’s law – that’s where we must go for Flat action today on these islands. How the English race-planners failed to slot in a single Flat meeting, turf or AW, on a glorious summer Sunday beggars belief.

In Paris, they water all the time; it’s long been the way to beat English challengers. They also bet only on the machine: it’s long been the way to beat English punters.

1.30 Longchamp (Prix Saint-Alary): Two of the last three winners went on to take the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) but last year’s scorer never reached the frame again.

Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer, has won the Saint-Alary three times; Christophe Lemaire, jockey, has won it three times, for two different trainers. The trainer and jockey team up today with Sagawara.

Sagawara was run over by the 1,000 Guineas winner, Beauty Parlour, first time out last year; she has done not much wrong since (beat Prima Noa last time) but takes a leap up from Group 3 to Group 1 and is wearing cheekpieces.

Unbeaten La Peinture takes an even bigger step forward, up from a Listed win (beat Aigue Marine), but some lines to form suggest she can beat Sagawara. Crecy’s Group-3 second (Rjwa third) was run in slow time.

Every one of these prep races was on soft-heavy and – yes, the sun has been shining across the Channel, too – the good to soft ground today could provide a turn-up.

It’s less than a month since Pretty Please broke her maiden but this close relative of French Derby runner-up Planteur could improve enough to win this moderate affair by Group-1 standards.

1.35 The Curragh: With three Aidan O’Brien colts on my side, I’m opposing the morning favourite, the Jim Bolger colt, Leitir Mor (lay at 2.86 in the green), though he’s the one with experience.

Of the Ballydoyle trio, Count Of Limonade and Theatre are both related to juvenile Group winners, while you would expect Lines Of Battle to need more time.

2.05 The Curragh (Gallinule Stakes): This could be a humdinger, maybe even a record breaker, with five in this field who have all front-run in the past: Absolute Crackers, Athens, Crius, Macbeth and Speaking Of Which.

While Trumpet Major seems to be going backwards, Richard Hannon will be hoping for better from Crius, who ran five-lengths second to his stable mate in the Craven.

But the Craven has been a big let-down, with Trumpet Major’s flop yesterday, the fourth home beaten 15 lengths since, the sixth 10 lengths and the seventh 17 lengths. Lay Crius, who has a Group-3 penalty and has to give weight all round.

Ballydoyle has won it six times in a row and Athens at 5.1 appeals as the obvious choice among the three other colts, who are likely to beat the fillies.

2.35 The Curragh (Tattersalls Gold Cup): I can make 143% profit from a BETDAQ place bet on Bible Belt if she is first or second of five runners.

Assuming Robin Hood is the pacemaker for See You Think (1.21 as I write, despite a 100% round book), and Elusive Ridge has no better than his 122.0 offers suggest, then Bible Belt has only to beat Famous Name.

Famous Name has been a fantastic servant but has never won a Group 1, not even a Group 2 and, while So You Think was giving him a thrashing in the autumn, Bible Belt, trying 1m 4f for the first time, got with two lengths of the Oaks winner, Dancing Rain, enjoying the quick ground at Ascot.

2.45 Longchamp (Prix d’Ispahan): In the last two years, this has been the opening gambit of the season for Goldikova and she will be missed today, though there is quality to be had, with four Group-1 winners doing battle and little in the way of going preference.

They are Planteur (Prix Ganay), Cirrus Des Aigles (Champion Stakes, Sheema Classic, Prix Ganay), Golden Lilac (French 1,000 Guineas and French Oaks) and Reliable Man (French Derby).

Under David O’Meara, Penitent has climbed out of handicap ranks (Lincoin winner of 2010 for William Haggas) to Group-2 status after taking the Sandown Mile last month and is on a four-timer.

Cirrus Des Aigles is hard to oppose, having continued on the upgrade since his Championship win at Ascot; though he trounced Reliable Man on heavy, he was equally convincing on good-ground turf at Meydan over St Nicholas Abbey.

Golden Lilac could be the danger. After beaten Galikova twice in the fast-run French fillies’ Classics, the form was overturned later on but it was a muddling race and she has two years on the favourite.

Until the phenomenon of Goldikova, no six-year-old had won the Ispahan since 1976, with four-year-olds 21, five-year-olds 9.

The spotlight surely falls on last year’s French Classic winners: the 9f is too short for Reliable Man, and he must have plenty of cut. But Golden Lilac, who goes well fresh, has youth and the 3lb fillies and mares allowance on her side, and was a fabulous 9.2 on BETDAQ this morning.

3.40 The Curragh (Irish 1,000 Guineas): Back to the beginning of the column: will Homecoming Queen be as effective on the firmish surface as she was romping clear of the Newmarket Guineas field?

While 12 of 15 bookies on Oddschecker went odds on that she will, you could get a fraction better than evens on BETDAQ.

I’m a big fan of Yellow Rosebud (5.6), who was runner-up in a Group-2 last summer to Homecoming Queen’s stablemate, Maybe, favourite for Friday’s Oaks.

LAY to win 10pts LEITIR MOR, and BET 3.4pts win THEATRE and 1.4pts win COUNT OF LIMONADE (1.35 The Curragh)
LAY to win 10pts CRIUS and BET 5pts win (nap) ATHENS (2.05 The Curragh)
BET 1.25pts win and 5pts place BIBLE BELT (2.35 The Curragh)
BET 2.4pts win GOLDEN LILAC and 3.5pts win (stakes saver) CIRRUS DES AIGLES (2.45 Longchamp)
BET 4.3pts win YELLOW ROSEBUD and 3.9pts win (stakes saver) HOMECOMING QUEEN (3.40 The Curragh).

* Daqman’s selections are backed to win 20 points (unless otherwise stated or in Daq Multiples) so, if you divide 20 by his stake, you know the Betdaq offer taken for a win bet at the time of writing.

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