7-1 DAQMAN WINNER WAS 12.0 ON BETDAQ: Another great BETDAQ-value spot by Daqman yesterday, declaring Gordonsville (WON 7-1) ‘massive’ at 12.0 in morning trades. He went chasing another long shot, but Intent (3rd 10-1) didn’t get an opening at a crucial stage in the race.

PROFIT FOR THREE DAYS IN A ROW: His lay was Malekov (unplaced 4-1 joint favourite) at Salisbury, putting him 21.60 points in front on the afternoon. That gave him his third consecutive day with a profit.

Thousands of punters have one question in mind today: where’s Richard Hughes? As a value-hunter, I have the same man on my mind but with a different question: will the odds about his rides be cramped because of that fabulous seven-timer?

The answers are Leicester and, yes, it will be hard to get value: three of the last four in his Windsor romp were around half the paper forecast at SP, though Duke Of Clarence held up well. That’s probably around the time the bookies were trying to ‘get’ him.

But they couldn’t get Hughsie, who rides so reliably, like the good old days of John Reid and Willie Carson rolled into one. He’s tough as Ruby Walsh and he picked up that lazy Mama Quilla beast like a Tony McCoy.

If Joseph O’Brien wasn’t about, he’d be the ‘long fella’ successor to Lester Piggott. Hughes lost the title last year with 400 fewer rides than the champ, Paul Hanagan. He lost to the same man the year before, pipped by two, again with a better strike rate from fewer rides.

He’s lost through injury and he’s lost through playing the game and sharing stable rides when he could have tried to jock off others.

He’s lost as a hero so many times that he’s already been celebrated as the true champion, and now that he owns the title outright, it’s like a Lonsdale belt. Slugger Hughes is the last man standing, his final victory a lifetime achievement award.

Enough of the prose and on to the pro bets, if there are some today. When you’re struggling to find value, it’s easy to think: oh, I’ll put the nap on Hughes or McCoy.

But what the purple prose doesn’t say is, in the words of the old adage, the jockey can’t come without the horse. Maybe when he’s on fire like yesterday. But most often, the race goes to form.

We’re not talking about below C level (lower class than 3), nor in the lung-busting mud of yesterday at Windsor, which makes Hughsie’s seven-timer all the more remarkable.

For betting purposes, we’re talking quality and that means two races at Leicester today, and one at Lingfield, one at Nottingham, tomorrow. The midweek game has gone to the dogs but, if Hughsie can do it, we can do it.

One of my mentor professional backers, Murray Dwyer, used to turn on me when I stared ruefully at a claimer or a seller (‘what am I supposed to do with that!’). He’d grin back: ‘It’s a race, my old mate! Someone’s got to win it. Why not you?’

In fact, the opening class 3 at Leicester (2.10), a conditions race, is a shocker for punting, despite the small field: what is an odds-on favourite (Seek Again) doing wearing a hood first time in only his second race?

‘Second time’ is always the worry with a two-year-old; you don’t know what the first run did to their mind. But no joy with the second favourite: it’s Richard Hughes on Van Der Neer, another second-time-outer.

Maybe if Mr Gosden was standing beside my computer rig, reading over my shoulder, he’d brush aside the hood query in his usual eloquent but matter-of-fact way.

And the next Hughsie ride? Is that straightforward? No, it’s Hughie Morrison’s Tunnager Grove (2.40), wearing first-time blinkers!

The difference between the two is that Gosden has a modest 16% record with headgear, while Morrison has an encouraging 24%, according to the Signposts section in the trade paper this morning.

My warning about ‘second time’ for a two-year-old was justified at Newbury in August when Sea Shanty (3.10) failed to follow on from a promising debut when running up to Middle Park second, Moohaajim. Can he bounce back under R. Hughes?

The champion elect’s mount, CD-winner My Queenie (3.40), in the other class 3, also has to bounce back, yet is favourite as I write. On the face of it, not a great day in prospect for the jockey in the limelight. But would you like to lay him in any one of those races, the form he’s in?

But never mind Hughsie; I need some winners, too. So I’ll settle down now, and try to use some Gosden and Dwyer sanity, to continue my own sequence. Famous last words are listed below.

BET 3.5pts win MUSNAD, 3.3pts win NOTARFBAD, and 2pts win (stakes saver) THE LAST NIGHT (2.20 Huntingdon)
BET 9pts win MY QUEENIE (3.40 Leicester)
BET 4pts win WELL METT, 1.1pts win and place GO AMWELL and 2.8pts win (stakes saver) VICTOR ECHO (4.20 Huntingdon)
BET 4.5pts win (nap) CAPE EXPLORER (5.10 Leicester)
BET 4pts win DEN MASCHINE, 3.5pts win SPENSLEY, 1.3pts win and place ILLUSTRIOUS FOREST (8.20 Wolverhampton)
DAQ MULTIPLES: BET 2pts win double MY QUEENIE (3.40 Leicester) and CAPE EXPLORER (5.10 Leicester)

* Daqman stakes his bets to win 20 points (except Daq Multiples). You, therefore, know the offer he took (divide 20 by the stake).

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