JACKPOT BET AS THE JUMPS OUTSHINES THE FLAT IN AUGUST: Daqman turns to Newton Abbot for quality and checks out the feature-race runners there step by step. He finds a rare midweek jackpot bet at 14.5 on Betdaq this morning.

Are you winning money on the jumps? I know a man who is. Increasingly, year on year, he finds that the lower-class midweek turf meetings on the Flat are a deepening pit of poor-quality horses and racing. He sticks to jumps and AW until the weekend.

He’d be able to tell you the massive advantages of following those NH trainers who are skimming off the jumps cream: at this time of year 25 trainers have 25% strike rates, a dozen of them above 30%.

A hardcore of nine stables have 40% or better hits first time out. This nucleus of nine indicates that you only have to get on the side of the yards that are targeting the early autumn jumps money and you can’t go wrong.

This big spread of stables scoring one in four doesn’t happen at any other time of the year, and prices are acceptable, even SP: and, if four of the six races at the last jumps meeting can return 116% or less then, during day-long trading on Betdaq, you are sure to have had a punter-friendly playing field.

As early as 7 o’clock this morning, I could get a win-market list on one race at today’s Newton Abbot meeting with 12 of the 18 horses trading in double figures, two of them paper forecast in single figures.

This is not a game for big money, but what I like to do is this: I price up the runners, creating my own betting forecast of minimum value for each horse. Then I have an early tickle. I will be looking to take one where the offers look ‘long.’

Later in the morning, I may hope to take an early position on that race with ‘real’ money. It depends what’s ‘grown’ on me. Let me explain.

Growing confidence is essential for a decent bet. To get that, you need to go through a race more than once, maybe half a dozen times, maybe more.

Suppose you go through the race for basic form, then for collateral form, then for speed figures, after that for trainers in form, followed by trainer ability on the course, horses course penchant, whether left or right hand, going dependency and so on (and on). It’s worth doing if you have time (it’s your money you’re spending).

Now imagine you start out at 7 o’clock with a rough ‘tissue’ (list of odds wanted), which will change as you go through and through the race, again and again, but every time you check out another aspect of the form, the same horse keeps on appearing in the short list. At a double-figure offer.

I remember this pencil-and-paper equivalent of algorithmic assessment happening in front of me as I worked alongside one of the world’s finest pro punters, Murray Dwyer. The same horse came up time and again. Yet it was quoted 10-1.

What are you going to do? I asked, rather naively. He replied: ‘I’m going to back it and back it and back it and..’ I don’t know how much he made but I do know he was going to Australia the following day and had to leave me with some of his ‘smaller’ bets which, when redeemed on his behalf at various shops around London, were settled at over £6,000.

Outdoing the Flat today by several notches is a class-2 handicap chase at Newton Abbot (3.45). The ground should remain stable (on the firm side of good).

Paul Nicholls and Emma Lavelle (both currently 50% win strike rate), Tim Vaughan and David Pipe (just under 50% win and place) are the stables in form, fielding Hoo La Baloo, Grand Lahou, Oceana Gold and Bathwick Quest.

Hoo La Baloo wins on good ground but much prefers a right-hand track and horses of double-figure age don’t win this. Oceana Gold has won on good and good to firm and is suited by the course (prefers a left-hand track). 

Of those below the age of 10, only Bushwacker, Grand Lahou and Oceana Gold have won in class 2 or class 3. Only Grand Lahou, Intac and Oceana Gold have won within 3lb of their current rating. Bathwick Quest and Grand Lahou have both won before after long absences.

I’m finding that, the more I enquire into this race, the more lists I make, the more the names of Grand Lahou, Oceana Gold and Bathwick Quest crop up. Incidentally, I always make a list of potential improvers, young horses with scope: today’s list for this race would have to include the seven-year-olds Oceana Gold and Bathwick Quest.

The shape of the race is vital before my ‘real’ money exchanges can take place. And this one looks like having a humdinger of a pace, with no fewer than six horses probable, or possible, leaders including the already mentioned Grand Lahou, Bathwick Quest, Oceana Gold (last time) and Bushwacker (sometimes).

You may by now have made up your mind – about the one most likely to – but  this potential cavalry charge leaves me needing a price: it’s not an ordinary race.

My verdicts are these: Bathwick Quest unreliable but freshened up, needs rain; Bushwacker lucky winner last time, up 23lb since penultimate win in small field, being claimed off; Exulto bridesmaid; Grand Lahou needs cut, prefers right hander, being claimed off; Hoo La Baloo in and out performer, has won for his claimer but prefers right-hand course.

Intac ground to suit but raised in class and needs further; Lord Jay Jay long in the tooth, doesn’t stand much racing, one win in three years; Mibleu aged 11 now, long losing, finds little at the business end, Aidan Coleman takes over; Mister Matt on a roll in small fields but raised in weight and class here; Oceana Gold won very fast race at Worcester, prefers left-hander and top of the ground, prone to occasional error; War Party well behind when raised to this level last time out, still 15lb higher than for last win; McCoy needs to make a big, big difference.

Oceana Gold (5.0) got it together last time and could go on from there; Hoo La Baloo (9.2) and Grand Lahou (14.0) are bigger than they should be on form but both have a tendency to jump to the right and have won only two of 13 races between them when going left-handed. Grand Lahou has a September race at Ffos Las as his target.

Skipper’s Lad in the staying-hurdle (4.15) is far too big at 14.5 offers on Betdaq this morning, with last year’s winning jockey booked for a horse that finished third to him that day and is now a stone lower. Jackpot bet.

BET (to win 20pts) 5pts win OCEANA GOLD (3.45 Newton Abbot)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 2.2pts win and place SKIPPER’S LAD (4.15 Newton Abbot)
BET (to win 20pts) 6.2pts KAZBOW (5.45 Nottingham)
BET 14pts win (nap) MONTASER (6.30 Ffos Las)