23 POINTS PROFIT AS DAQMAN NAP WINS: Daqman landed his nap, Paphos (WON 3-1), and made it two out of three at Kempton Park last night with Red Courtier (WON 5-2). Both were in Betdaq-sponsored handicaps. His profit on the day was just under 23 points.
HIGH-STAKES BONANZA: Daqman increases his stakes today, the first day of the Newmarket July meeting, as he finds two ‘stand-out’ bets and two jackpot bets at 18.5 and 14.5 value offers on Betdaq.
1.20 Newmarket: Since this Bahrain Trophy was raised from Listed level to Group 3, the winners have been rated 105 and 108, which recommends Derby eighth, Masked Marvel (109), the only runner today above 104.
But the form gives mixed signals: Masked Marvel had earlier beaten Picture Editor into third at Goodwood but that one was remote behind Census in the race won by Brown Panther at Royal Ascot.
Solar Sky has about four lengths to make up on Masked Marvel on a line through Namibian but this morning there was just 0.2 of a point between Masked Marvel, Census and Solar Sky. Can you separate them? I leave it to the judge.
1.50 Newmarket (July Stakes): This race usually blows a big bubble, only to see it burst very quickly: Winker Watson (2007) and Classic Blade (2008) never won another race though, to be fair, Arcano (2009) and Libranno (2010) subsequently took advantage of a five-runner Prix Morny and a six-runner Richmond Stakes, respectively, in their year before they slipped off the Classic radar.
Winners of this have usually taken a previous race at one of the prestige tracks – Ascot, Newbury, Newmarket (Rowley) – which suggests Windsor Castle winner Frederick Engels or North Star Boy.
But North Star Boy was only 7th when Roman Soldier ran Power to a neck in the Coventry Stakes at the royal meeting, and Power is the current favourite for next year’s Guineas.
Frederick Engels form is special: it ties in with Listed winners and to the Curragh Group-2 winner, Lilbourne Lad, but he has to step up a furlong here, is not as well related as Roman Soldier and a place in the Coventry would normally be stronger than a win in the Windsor Castle.
Church Music and Kenny Powers represent the two-year-old teams of stables which seem to have plenty of good juveniles to pick from; they are their selections here and, though Roman Soldier stands out, I grabbed the near 2.8 on Betdaq this morning. I wouldn’t want much shorter.
2.25 Newmarket: Just one favourite this century and winners at 20-1, 25-1 and 40-1. It doesn’t help a great deal to know that three of the last four winners were rated 100 to 104 – since there’s nothing above 98 today – but that three of them had made Group-race appearances may be useful information: it pinpoints Mijhaar, Azrael, Well Sharp, Fulgur and Waltz Darling.
Once again, the Brown Panther form comes under scrutiny: the result of today’s opener will tell us more about it but I challenged it before his defeat in the German Derby because those he beat at Royal Ascot on good to soft were class-4 animals.
Census (see 1.20) and Well Sharp were second and third. A good way behind in sixth was Sud Pacifique, who had Rain Mac third at York in May but it was Rain Mac’s reappearance, he was badly drawn and has been allowed plenty of time to develop this season.
Well Sharp, badly drawn at Ascot, looks as though he’d be better suited to the 1m 2f today but, as a son of Selkirk, probably needs the rain – thunderstorms are forecast – before you can back him.
But, if you still believe in the Brown Panther form, then the highly-regarded Rain Mac may be the one or, better still, Fadhaa, who was the ‘moral’ at Chester when he went down a neck, giving 4lb to Brown Panther, and now seemingly much better handicapped after the wrong tactics were employed at Salisbury last time. Trainer Barry Hills loves to get one over the Newmarket stables and is currently striking at 25%.
Mijhaar and Fulgur were fourth and fifth to Nathaniel at Ascot. The handicapper has taken literally the four-and-a-half lengths that separated them that day but Fulgur was twice checked in his run.
Fulgur beat Mijhaar over a mile on soft last autumn but, in turn, was behind Labarinto at Newbury in the Spring when both were fit, having their second outings.
Fulgur strikes me as an animal who needs soft going and everything to drop right. If I tip him, you will be on a bad-value prospect by the time you read this, since Pricewise horses always crash in the market.
Club Oceanic, full brother to the dual Group-3 winner Mac Love, is a ‘done nothing wrong’ improver with five runs or fewer, and equally unexposed are Fadhaa, Labarinto, Mijhaar and Rain Mac. Fadhaa (18.5 this morning) and Rain Mac (14.5) seem to have targeted the race and are good value on Betdaq this morning.
3.00 Newmarket (Princess Of Wales’s Stakes): The only time this century that a three-year-old managed to win this it was a Mark Johnston winner of the Queens Vase.
He saddles Dordogne today but that colt’s Lingfield Derby Trial wasn’t as good as we thought and needs a lift earlier in the afternoon from the runner-up, Hurricane Higgins (1.20).
Johnston is so worried about the ground becoming soft that he double negatives his concern in the Racing Post: ‘I hope I’ll not regret not declaring (when there’s) a significant change in the ground.’ Not a wee chance, Mark!
If Sir Michael Stoute’s stable was in better form (why did I back Workforce?), you wouldn’t look beyond Crystal Capella (not nohow), since the Bajan knight has had three winners and two placed from eight runners in this. However, you might be concerned that no filly or mare has won since 1982.
Nine out of 10 Princess Of Wales’ winners had already scored in a Group race, which leaves Afsare, Myplacelater, and Buthelezi wanting. Afsare ran an excellent third to two Group-1 winners in the Fred Archer on today’s course recently, though the fourth horse was only a handicapper and the winner of this has never come from that race.
Best guide is the Hardwicke, but Laaheb and Campanologist were only fourth and fifth, and the pick of today’s form must be Redwood so, while Pricewise is going for a Cumani day, I’m banking on a Barrington Hills resurge after Fadhaa in the handicap.
Redwood has never been out of the frame in Group-1 races nor ever out of the first two when fresh so, again, we have a horse aimed at the race. He’s been runner-up both to the St Leger winner, Mastery, and to Rewilding, who caught So You Think at Royal Ascot.
Like Roman Soldier, Redwood is a stand-out, and I’m raising my stakes to win 35 points. The danger to Redwood might be a runaway Dordogne, if the ground remains right for him. So I’ll have a saver. Otherwise, I don’t want to regret not saving on him, don’t I Mark (I mean ‘do I,’ don’t I?)
BET (to win 35pts): 18pts win (nap) ROMAN SOLDIER (1.50 Newmarket)
WIN-40 JACKPOT: 2.9pts win RAIN MAC and 2.1pts win FADHAA, plus 1.9pts (saver) MIJHAAR (2.25 Newmarket)
BET (to win 35pts): 12.5pts win REDWOOD and 1.2pts win (saver) DORDOGNE (3.00 Newmarket)