BACK-TO-BACK NAPS AND DOUBLE UP: Daqman saw the opportunity and sent his stakes into orbit with 25 points invested as singles and a double on Mars (nap, WON 4-7) and Ashaadd (WON 5-6), both runaway winners yesterday, following up his Sunday nap, Springinherstep (WON 4-6).

IT’S AN OLYMPIC KING GEORGE: Saturday brings a wide-open, world-class King George of international proportions – England, Australia, France, Japan, Germany are represented – but the Ascot contest is missing Europe’s best three-year-olds.

BIG-RACE ABC: The race, launched in 1951, has lost its lustre as a king-maker for the Classic generation, and Daqman finds that he needs 21st-century stats to assess the runners, as follows:

A: Aged four (has won eight out of 10)
B: Royal Ascot winner or second (five out of five)
C: The last four with official English ratings before the race were on 123, 125, 124 and 121. Must be that or better.
D: Only Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute, of those saddling runners on Saturday, have had the winner before.

The Madness Of The King George. It’s a great race this year but we’ve let it slip from what it was. It’s all part of the trend toward later championship races and the dominance of the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe.

Once upon a time, the King George was, indeed, the kingpin race of the turf season, won inexorably by the Derby winner, among them the greatest of all time: Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Troy, Shergar, Dancing Brave.

But that hasn’t happened since Galileo (2001) and before that, in the Nineties, Lammtarra (1995) and Generous (1991).

In fact, just three in 25 years, including Nashwan in 1989, who followed on Reference Point (1987).

The modern champions of Europe – Dylan Thomas, Zarkava, Sea The Stars – have all been crowned in the Arc in October.

The good news is that Saturday sees one of the best recent renewals, the runners including last year’s Arc winner, Danedream, and the Melbourne Cup hero, Dunaden, with Nathaniel looking for back-to-back success before the home crowd.

But yet again the European Classic-winning colts and fillies of the present generation have swerved the contest, with only the Japanese Guineas and Derby winner, Deep Brillante, representing second-season animals.

ABCD Nathaniel Last year’s surprise winner of this race on the back of a five-lengths success in the Royal Ascot ‘Derby’, the King Edward V11 Stakes. Slammed Epsom Derby winner Workforce, with one of Saturday’s rivals, St Nicholas Abbey, in third.

The sedate pace to the race, and an accident to the favourite, Rewilding, left pundits unimpressed, and Nathaniel was well beaten afterwards in the Champion Stakes.

But, in his first race since, he showed tremendous courage and depth to outgun the year-younger Farhh in the Eclipse only a fortnight before this King George defence. Has that race left its mark?

ABCD Sea Moon While Nathaniel’s trainer, John Gosden, has had a season to remember, vying with Ballydoyle for the trainer’s title, despite their Camelot year, Sir Michael Stoute had been in the doldrums until Sea Moon blew them all away in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot.

The Melbourne Cup one-two, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, were second and third, with recent Newmarket Group-2 winner Fiorente – five lengths behind Nathaniel at Ascot last June – trailing in sixth, more than 13 lengths adrift of Sea Moon.

Sea Moon was unlucky in last year’s St Leger (favourite but squeezed out) and his only other defeat as a late-maturing horse was when, slowly away, he ran second to St Nicholas Abbey on very fast ground in the Breeders Cup.

AB Brown Panther Improved a massive 42lb last season, taking in a handicap at Royal Ascot before running second in the St Leger, though Sea Moon might have claimed that spot with a better passage.

Can run below par (2011 German Derby, 2012 Ormonde Stakes) but was raised again in the official ratings when he stormed seven lengths clear at Pontefract in June, albeit in only a Listed event.

ACD Masked Marvel It was Masked Marvel who won that St Leger, in which Brown Panther was a one-paced runner-up, with Sea Moon squeezed out, third.

But we’ve seen nothing like that form since from this Gosden second string: he’s taken a beating totaling more than 50 lengths in, consecutively, the Arc, Jockey Club Stakes and Coronation Cup. All success has come on a sound surface.

AD Robin Hood Has done a pacemaking job for stablemates So You Think and St Nicholas Abbey, raising his status only 9lb since winning a minor handicap at Leopardstown in March.

A Danedream Italian Derby third and then their Oaks winner before a six-lengths soft-ground slaughter of the Grosser Preis Von Baden field in Germany, so the fast ground at Longchamp resulted in her starting 20-1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

But the faith of connections, who had supplemented her a cost of 100,000 euros, was justified when she came five lengths clear of Shareta and an illustrious field of older horses.

So You Think was fourth, St Nicholas Abbey fifth, Workforce 12th, Reliable Man 15th and another supplemented runner, Masked Marvel, was stone last of 16, the race coming only 22 days after the St Leger.

A Reliable Man The Dalakhani grey won three in a row in his second season, culminating in French Derby success but was last but one in the Arc.

This season’s defeats in the Ganay and Ispahan can probably be explained away because of his preference for faster ground but left him with a lot to find in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Tongue-tied for the first time, he ran a closing fourth to So You Think, a neck behind the subsequent Eclipse runner-up, Farhh.

A Shareta Winner of a Group-3 at Deauville last August but stepped up hugely on that as runner-up to Danedream in the Arc, although intended to be a pacemaker for her stablemate, Sarafina.

Opened her 2012 season as beaten favourite twice, and again disappointed, this time easier to back, as the 5-1 runner-up in the Grand Prix de Saint-cloud. Needs top of the ground to get out of the bridesmaid rut.

CD St Nicholas Abbey Out of the first three just once in 10 races over two years when fifth, beaten six lengths, by Danedream in the Arc, after third to Nathaniel in this King George.

But he finished 2011 with a best-yet performance in winning the Breeders Cup in tremendous style, with runner-up Sea Moon slow out of the gates.

Equally impressive when more than four lengths clear of Red Cadeaux and Masked Marvel, scoring back-to-back wins in the Coronation Cup at the Epsom Derby meeting.

D Windsor Palace Joseph O’Brien was caught out of his ground on St Nicholas Abbey in the Mooresbridge in May and Windsor Palace hung on to the lead in his pacemaking role.

Fifth, beaten 15 and more lengths, behind Frankel in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and ‘out of the three’ in a five-runner Group 3 since.

Deep Brillante Third in the Japanese Guineas and winner of their Derby by a nose, enough to send his earnings past the £2.5m mark, such is their prizemoney. The only three-year-old in Saturday’s field.

Dunaden Out of the frame only once in his last 15 starts and belied his years (he’s six-years-old now) when, caught behind horses, he finished well to run up to Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot with Red Cadeaux third, confirming the form of their one-two in the Melbourne Cup.

Apart from his tenacious Flemington success, Dunaden also won the Hong Kong Vase to complete a terrific world-class treble last backend, which started with the Geelong Cup.

BET 2.3pts win CAPITOL GAIN (2.00 Beverley)
BET 5.8pts win (nap) MOJOLIKA (4.00 Beverley)
BET 4pts win SNOW BAY (7.30 Southwell)
BET 1.6pts win and place GODWIT (9.00 Southwell)

* 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. For instance, Godwit was 13.0.

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