FIVE NAPS UP OUT OF SIX FOR DAQMAN: Commanche (WON 5-4) yesterday was Daqman’s fifth winning nap from the last six. It was the eighth in 12 days of best bets within the last fortnight’s racing for a profit of 110 points to 10-point level stakes.
HOW HIS BEST BETS HAVE SCORED: This is how the results of each nap in those 12 days would appear as form figures: 120112111101. He has deliberately avoided odds-on offers or potential odds-on favourites. Here are the last nine:
* Monday: SHAMDARLEY (WON 2-1)
* Tuesday: MOJOLIKA (WON 7-4)
* Wednesday: Hel’s Angel (2nd 5-4)
* Thursday: HUNTER’S LIGHT (WON 2-1)
* Friday: VITAL GOLD (WON 2-1)
* Saturday: HEAVENLY DAWN (WON 6-5)
* Sunday: SHORT TAKES (WON 15-8)
* Monday: SWITCHBACK (unplaced)
* Tuesday: COMMANCHE (WON 5-4)
Mind Over Risk! Who applied that title to a two-year-old handicap? The nursery season is well under way and that’s the name of the one at Sandown tonight (6.35). I would have thought ‘Mind Out!’ more appropriate.
Nurseries are notoriously tricky, carrying with them the notion that some trainers ‘bury’ their juveniles in Spring and early summer with the intention of a handicap coup later on, maybe using the ‘quiet runs in maidens then hit’ technique, which we’ve already seen with three-year-olds this season.
Nurseries have caught the eye again this year, with Treasure Beach (Irish Derby) the first British Isles Derby winner since Tulyar (Epsom 1952) to come on from a nursery win in his first season.
Tulyar can also stake a claim to being one of the Big Improvers of the 20th century – the handicapper gave him a stone and 5lb below the best in the Free Handicap – but Treasure Beach has shot up 36lb since his nursery win at Galway last August.
As ever, nurseries have spawned many a system over the years, from the simplistic to the sublime. Most common is the ‘top weight in a nursery’ principle, based on the premise that if the horse has earned top weight, then it’s a better tool than anything else in the race.
Perhaps the more sublime is: follow the leading two-year-old sires. This time the argument is: if they ‘re doing so well in conditions races, they must surely clean up in handicaps. You need a stats sage, like Nick Mordin or John Randall, to tell you the truth behind these fads.
My stats anorak, Bill, who is supposed to provide me with such material, responded to my message on his 1571 with just one word back about nurseries: ‘Hannon!’
Richard Hannon has trained between 93 and 122 two-year-old race winners per season since 2008, and is on 44 for the current term so far, with the larger portion of two-year-old races to come in the second half of the season.
He saddles Kyllasie in the Sandown nursery tonight, a filly with three maiden runs but, after an odds-on failure at Kempton, her turf appearances have suggested she needs another furlong or more.
Mitie Mouse represents two systems in one colt: he is top-weight and by one of the leading sires of two-year-olds, Exceed And Excel. Another leading stallion, Dark Angel, got the filly Dark Ages.
Catterick’s nursery (3.10) also has a top weight which is a Dark Angel, but Tight Lipped is already gelded and already beaten favourite in a nursery. However, that was 6f and he stayed on well enough, and the next pair in the handicap, Beaumaris and Act Your Shoe Size, have won only a claimer and a seller.
No winner of this has carried less than 8st 6lb and, if you follow that stat, your cut-off point could be Schmooze, on the grounds that Linda Perratt hasn’t trained a winner at Catterick in nearly 10 years.
Expect plenty of pace on from Moon Trip and Flurry Of Hands, which should set things up for Devlin (9.2 on Betdaq this morning): this one has run well enough over the minimum 5f, including against subsequent Group-2 winners.
That’s praise indeed since his sire, Auction House, didn’t appear on the racecourse until 7f juvenile races were available, and his dam, Dancing Loma, is related to stayers.
Team Fahey-Hanagan should be thereabouts with Devlin; if they’re beaten, it will probably be by Tight Lipped. But Devlin is much the more likely improver.
Gold Mine (4.30) is probably the best bet at Lingfield, down in class from his unlucky run at Epsom and in a race in which trainer Andrew Balding is one runner, one winner.
Leicester has the race of the day – wow, a class-4 (7.50) – and there should be a genuine pace on from Adaria and Greenflash. This is the level at which Biaraafa won at Yarmouth and Bakoura won at Newbury but this time the ground is on the soft side. It might suit Zing Wing, 7.2 on Betdaq this morning.
So back to Sandown, and I still haven’t solved the nursery puzzle, but class 3 and 4 handicaps should be worth digging into. There’s that man Stoute with a ‘first-time in a handicap’ filly, Crystal Etoile (8.15), but he broke my naps sequence with a duff one in a handicap. Shernando (8.50) looks progressive but Alan King (King’s Bayonet) does well with his few on the Flat.
BET 2.4pts win and place DEVLIN (3.10 Catterick)
BET 8.8pts win (nap) GOLD MINE (4.30 Lingfield)
BET 3.2pts win ZING WING (7.50 Leicester)