ICE-COOL DAQMAN RINGS UP THE BELMONT CASH: Daqman scored two big hits yesterday: he opposed the Royal Ascot talking horse Pearl Ice (lay, unplaced 6-4 favourite) at Newmarket and backed last night’s winner of the Belmont Stakes in America, Union Rags (bet, WON 11-4).

NECK (AND NOSE) ON THE LINE! Union Rags got up by a neck but Daqman was on the receiving end of the camera with his afternoon jackpot bets, when Anatolian (2nd 10-1) went down by a neck and Pintura (2nd 4-1) by a nose. However, he landed the one-two in Anatolian’s race by having a saver on the winner, High Jinx (WON 7-2).

Calling all Betdaq layers. I’ll be picking up your offers when Pearl Ice runs again: another success is, literally, on ice for Richard Fahey’s Newmarket flop of yesterday.

Clearly it won’t be at Royal Ascot, so give the beast a break, Richard. Long enough, please, for layers to forget that the colt simply couldn’t hack it, when made to run again within three days of the victory at Ripon which opened the floodgates for a wholesale Wokingham gamble.

I laid Pearl Ice because I recognise that there’s a world of difference between plotting trainers taking advantage of the penalty rules (remember that article by James Pyman the other day) and those obliged to run a horse quickly.

Fahey’s hand was forced: he had to raise Pearl Ice’s rating so that his Ascot weight would go up or he would not have got into the Wokingham. It didn’t pan out, and he won’t get in, but me and you both would have tried it on.

I should also have laid the quirky Spifer. Backers who lumped on, down to 9-2 SP, had forgotten the form: Spifer has won only a maiden; he’d thrown away races before, including one at 6-4 favourite.

But here’s another promise: I won’t miss him out next time. I’ll be a layer to all those backers who will forgive Spifer yet again. He’s never started bigger than 6-1 since the debut.

Some good news for punters who have been jumps racing lately: the bookies overrounds have been good: 108% at SP in three events yesterday.

You can, of course, get that sort of book almost every time, even if you bet early: just wait for the orange and the green to settle down on BETDAQ.

As early as 7.40 a.m., I could bet in a 113% list of offers today at the meeting which features the Perth Gold Cup (4.10), a class-2 contest with the forecasters saying it will be fine all day and we don’t have to fear a change of going.

David Pipe and Gordon Elliott have chosen the race for the handicap debuts of Shoegazer (first time in blinkers) and Trendelenburg (first-time tongue-tie).

Elliott is famous for his raids on Scottish tracks and is hitting winners at a rate of around 30% at Perth: he’s booked Timmy Murphy for his ‘Trend’ horse today after a run back on the Flat.

The last time the gelding was at Perth – his last race over jumps in September – he pulled up in a hurdle race but, rather akin to the Pearl Ice flop, he was having his third outing of that month (and his 13th of the year).

Trendelenburg has had just four chases, jumping nicely on good ground to win a beginners’ race at Kilbeggan but not happy with it firm at Killarney.

Elliott muddies the waters by also sending over from Ireland CD-winner Cottage Oak, with another top man booked, Jason Maguire.

Shoegazer is in cracking form with three wins since April but his two chase successes (out of three) have been easy strolls at odds on from very small fields, though he’s a class-3 winner over hurdles, now rated similarly over fences.

From the stats, and at the weights, we can in theory eliminate the horses of a double-figure age (only one such has ever won this race) and those out of the handicap (the bottom seven).

That still leaves me with seven from which to make my selection(s) but I note that improving seven-year-olds have won four of the last five runnings.

That brings me back to Shoegazer and Trendelenburg. Choosing between them is tricky but not so difficult when it comes to value: Shoegazer was only 5.5 on BETDAQ at time of writing, whereas Trendelenburg was a quite staggering 15.5.

Mumbles Head won over CD recently but is hiked 21lb since his previous success at Market Rasen in April, and so I opted for Cootehill as my second choice, returning to 3m, over which he finished in front of Fairoak Lad at Ludlow in March: 9.0 on BETDAQ.

Nigel Twiston-Davies says he’s worried about Cootehill’s weight (5lb higher than for Ludlow win in April) but the same problem – only worse – applies to Aurora’s Encore (up 16lb on his last success), Fairoak Lad (15lb), Mumbles Head (11lb) and Zitenka (10lb).

To go with the gold at Perth, I’ll try the Silver Stakes at The Curragh (3.50): it’s 3-3 between older horses and three-year-olds.

Sharestan almost upset Famous Name at Leopardstown but he had the benefit of a run that day. He was then third when Joseph O’Brien failed to catch St Nicholas Abbey’s pacemaker in a race over today’s CD run so slowly for a Group race that they could have shown adverts halfway through the reprise and we wouldn’t have missed anything.

I think we should be asking: what has Sharestan actually beaten this year? Well, there was a winning handicapper third in the Famous Name race and Ansaab, second to him in the Irish Lincoln, has also won a handicap.

Not a lot, is it, to be taking not much better than even money this morning? The alternative at the front of the market is around 2-1 about Learn, the Ballydoyle fourth in the Racing Post Trophy and Saint-cloud Criterium International but not seen out this year.

WIN-30 JACKPOT: 3.7pts win COOTEHILL, 2pts win and place TRENDELENBURG, and 1.7pts win (stakes saver) SHOEGAZER (4.10 Perth)
DAQ MULTIPLES: 10pts win on each and a 5pt win double LEARN (3.50 The Curragh) and PIPER HILL (nap, 5.10 Perth)

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