LAST-CHANCE SALOON FOR CLASSIC CONTENDERS: Daqman checks out the final trials this week in the countdown to the Epsom Derby and Oaks. Meanwhile his naps continue to frustrate, but are proving a place-bets boon, with his current sequence 3211123. His lays, one up one down, showed a profit yesterday.

Height Of Fashion Stakes (3.45 Goodwood, Thursday): The old Lupe Stakes has produced two recent Oaks winners since its name change: Love Divine (2000) and Snow Fairy (2010).

John Gosden, who saddled Ocean Silk (2003) and Michita (2008) to win this, now lines up Gathering and Great Heavens. Snow Fairy’s trainer, Ed Dunlop, runs Zimira, who looked outclassed in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, fifth behind Vow, Collima and a likely Roger Charlton runner on Thursday, Estrela.

Zimira’s sire got Lawman to win the French Derby but is mainly associated with sprinters and her dam’s winners have come at up to a mile. The dam herself was a 1m 4f winner and half-sister to Barathea, but Zimira still has it to prove.

Gathering (dam second in the French Guineas) was convincing over a mile last backend, and the hope is that she will bring her sire’s blood to the track this year: he has produced the 19-times-winner Zenyatta, though again we’re talking about 9f not a mile and a half.

Great Heavens, this is more like it! The daughter of Galileo is related to stayers but most significantly is a full sister to Nathaniel, a strong developer under the same trainer, John Gosden, to win the King Edward V11 at Royal Ascot and then the King George.

Also likely to line up in the Height Of Fashion are Cheshire Oaks third Cubanita, Nayarra (9th in the 1,000 Guineas), and Coquet, who has on her CV a verdict over Nell Gwyn winner, Esentepe (holds Minidress).

Cocked Hat Stakes (3.45 Goodwood, Friday): The race – then called the Predominate Stakes – which produced the fabulous Derby winner Troy.

John Gosden again has to be considered right away, since he saddled two of the last three winners, though the star of recent Cocked Hat success was Rewilding (2010), third in the Derby and Prince Of Wales’s winner at Royal Ascot the following year.

Gosden has Jungle Beat in the race with no breeding potential for middle distances and it’s his other entry, Michelangelo, that catches the eye.

Michelangelo, a son of Galileo, ran green behind Frankel’s brother Noble Mission when seeing the racecourse for the first time earlier in the month.

Gosden, who named Thought Worthy, the colt that pipped Noble Mission on Saturday, as his possible Derby horse, could yet be surprised by the development of Michelangelo here in time for Epsom or, more likely as it stands, as a stepping-stone to the King Edward at Royal Ascot.

Cocked Hat success for Marcus Tregoning’s Lingfield Derby trial third, Cavaleiro, would boost the Epsom chances of the Lingfield winner, Main Sequence.

Andrew ‘Bonfire’ Balding still has Expense Claim down to run, though this one completed his hat-trick in Saturday’s London Gold Cup.

Irish 2,000 Guineas (3.15 The Curragh, Saturday): With the forecast good ground in his favour, it’s the big test for Jim Bolger’s Dewhurst winner Parish Hall, who would have to win this comfortably and come out of the race well, to be in the line-up at Epsom a week later.

Parish Hall is a rare beast in the Derby market: shorter on Betdaq than with bookmakers, often very significant.

The horse he narrowly beat in the Dewhurst, Ballydoyle’s Power, is in the Curragh line-up, and Richard Hannon’s Trumpet Major tries to do a Canford Cliffs.

Canford Cliffs was third in the Newmarket Guineas before scoring at the Curragh. Trumpet Major was fourth, just behind Hermival, who will also travel over to the Saturday Classic.

Born To Sea (only 10th at Newmarket) runs but will wear a visor, and the John Oxx stable’s first string is now the Aga Khan’s Tetrarch Stakes winner, Takar, with Johnny Murtagh up.

Apart from Power, Ballydoyle can choose from Crusade, Daddy Long Legs, Nephrite, Reply, Vault and Wrote. Speaking Of Which (Dermot Weld) is a strong stayer in the making.

Irish 1,000 Guineas (4.15 The Curragh, Sunday): My horses-to-follow list badly needs a success story here from either Kissed or Diala, who disappointed me at Newmarket.

Kissed, closely related to Derby winner Pour Moi, made short work of the Salsabil Stakes on her return at Navan last month when her round action was made for the soft ground. The weather may have turned against her.

BET 3.8pts win BILASH (2.45 Nottingham)
BET 4.4pts win LORD OF THE STORM (4.00 Brighton)
BET 8pts win JOURNALISTIC (4.15 Nottingham)
BET 9pts win WHATSOFUNNY (5.30 Brighton)
BET 6.4pts win FOLK TUNE (6.15 Towcester)
BET 1.9pts win REBECCA ROMERO (6.30 Kempton)
BET 3.1pts win (nap) LOST GLORY (7.45 Towcester)

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

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