BACK-AND-LAY WAS TOO LAID BACK, SECOND 20-1: Daqman got a touch of ‘secondiditis’ yesterday. The hardest to bear was his back-and-lay Prince Of Passion (2nd 20-1), normally a front-runner but who got a slow start in a Betdaq handicap at Kempton, finished like the proverbial train only to be hampered a furlong out and beaten threeparts of a length.

POOR QUALITY, POOR RESULTS: No wonder Daqman takes time out from tipping to have a moan today about how poor quality racing costs the punter in poor results. But he finds a class-2 jumps race at Ffos Las which should go like the wind!

I’ve been banging on about it in this column. Now the BHA has admitted a ‘marked rise in class 5 and 6’ races. As they rise, what’s left of class 2 to 4 racing is pushed into an ever growing number of festivals and on to weekends.

The result is midweek dross of a kind I have never encountered in many years of tipping and writing about racing; it’s as if the old unlicensed flapper tracks have taken over.

My tipping mentor, Paul Major, said in his ‘bible’, Horse Sense: ‘Never bet below C level’ – that’s the equivalent of Class 3 today – because the lower-grade animals are not capable of consistency, the form is seldom reproduced as it stands and there are very few ‘improvers’ going through those ranks at value prices.

More than 100 races were downgraded in the first five months of this year alone. Class-2 to five races are down 20% in a year and class-5 and 6 up 17%.

The first stage of any betting strategy to cope with this is to increase stakes for the better meetings. I started that some months ago and got a reputation as a ‘big meeting specialist’ and ‘the Saturday king’.

Now, apart from reducing stakes midweek, I intend to tackle some of the problems of low-class racing, partly by seeking out any biases and instances of ‘farming’.

Biases? That would be draw idiosyncracies, for instance. ‘Farming’ would be where certain trainers are gleaning the little fish for a sweet profit; we need to know where, when and how they strike.

Market movements are another potential source of winners, particularly on Betdaq, because exchange betting is not tied to fixed-odds profits motivation but is a free-trading market.

I can’t guarantee to restore my midweek returns to bring in the 100 winners a month I used to get three or four years ago – once or twice a ‘ton’ in 16 or 18 days – but we’ll have a go. Watch this space.

Yesterday at four meetings, the Flat-race count by class was 4 Class Four races, 14 Class Five, 16 Class Six. Today at three meetings there are Class Four: 2 races, Five: 8, Six: 12.

I switched to the jumpers at Sedgefield earlier in the week and was rewarded with a couple of 7-2 winners and a successful lay. That’s the kind of strike rate I used to have on the Flat.

So today, I’ll look at the two class-4 Flat races and then on to the jumps, though they are a less effective punting medium today because of small fields.

5.00 Lingfield: Peter Chapple-Hyam (Sand Owl) and Tony Carroll (Valmina) are the only trainers in this race to sport any winners in the last fortnight. The others have drawn a blank.

Yet the betting has Mikael Magnusson (Escape To Glory) on top with Jamie Poulton (Highland Harvest) not far behind, though neither horse has been placed as high as class 4 in the last two years.

Estonia was fourth in a class-3 at Goodwood last time out but was the big drifter – a dog on a raft – this morning. Chevise also eased.

I fancy a bit of Sand Owl under Jamie Spencer. After winning her maiden, she seems to have suffered in her recent races: slowly away at Yarmouth, hampered and eased at Newbury and came too soon (led two out) at Kempton. It’s down to you to get it right, Spenny!

8.15 Wolverhampton: Sir Mark Prescott (2-20) has not been firing in sequence winners as he used to but Final Liberation isn’t far off, having dipped out only once in four starts, when ridden differently at Kempton.

His usual make-all style has brought success for the son of Sinndar at Nottingham and Yarmouth recently, right up to today’s 2m.

But he has to improve again: those wins took him from class 6 to class 5 and now he’s in a class-4. That’s in addition to the imposition of a stone extra.

Bernard Llewellyn, who is in top gear right now, tries to make a tactical race of it by saddling two of the five runners, both already winners at class-4 level.

But Gremlin has slipped to class 6 (only fourth of seven at Wolver) and Wine ‘N Dine hasn’t been seen on a racecourse since 2009; he has won when fresh and the stable is at peak so, as the professionals say, I’ll ‘leave a pound for it’ at the 19.0 on Betdaq this morning.

The race appears to be between Final Liberation and Red Courtier, with not a lot to choose between them on form (Red Courtier was unlucky in a class 4 last time out) but a big difference at the weights.

Final Liberation has been winning as though he will be capable in this grade and 14lb from Red Courtier should be enough.

Jumps: Wow! Real horses in a class-2 chase (4.50 Ffos Las)! Unfortunately, it has two huge punting problems: rain is forecast onto a firm surface, and three of the seven in this are front-runners.

Echo Bob, over from Ireland, doesn’t usually last out but a certain Mr McCoy will be ‘having none of that’ as ‘Bob’ threatens to cry enough.

Mibleu is getting on in years but is the only winner at this level and has already seen off Grand Lahou. You just doubt he can put back-to-back wins together at age 11.

Piment D’Estruval is high in the handicap now, despite his low weight in a race of this level, and Rio Gael can’t be trusted.

It’s guesswork how well the novice Al Qeddaaf will perform, particularly if he can’t get his known way up front. West With The Wind won the race last year and should beat Echo Bob, having been brought back to fitness recently on the Flat.

BET 6.4pts win WEST WITH THE WIND and 1.8pts win (stakes saver) ECHO BOB (4.50 Ffos Las)
BET 4.3pts win (nap) SAND OWL (5.00 Lingfield)
BET 15pts win FINAL LIBERATION and 1.1pt win WINE ‘N DINE (8.15 Wolverhampton)