SATURDAY BAG OF DERBY AND BIG CHASES: A big mix of top-class races marred only by the mud: from the marathon Eider Chase at Newcastle and the Bobbyjo at Fairyhouse to juvenile hurdle and novice chase at Kempton and the Winter Derby at Southwell.

DAQMAN 660 POINTS CLEAR OF PRICEWISE: Daqman lines up at Kempton against Pricewise with the scores Daqman 26, Pricewise 9; Daqman PLUS 321.66 and Pricewise MINUS 340.83 to 10-point stakes.


LARGY CAN OUTGUN THEM

⭕ 1.15 Kempton (2m 5f hurdle) A chasing type, Paul Nicholls’ Largy Poet just gallops and is the most likely winner in the absence of Sea Invasion.

Mark of Gold, 7lb higher than when winning this last year, was a faller unfancied at 33-1 the last day in the higher-level Lanzarote (Samuel Spade well in rear) over this same CD. Could bounce back.


PICK ANTE-POST BETS NOW

⭕ 1.50 Kempton (Adonis Juvenile Hurdle, 2m) Favourites have won five of the last six, some going on to win at the Aintree or Punchestown festivals, not at Cheltenham.

But Paul Nicholls’ CD winner Kalif Du Berlais (ex-Guillaume Macaire) is 15.0 on BETDAQ for the Triumph Hurdle, as he bids to follow in the stable hoofprints of Solo in the Adonis (2020), also a soft-ground winner bought from France.

Give Me Five is being quoted for both the Boodles (Fred Winter), 21.0 on BETDAQ Sportsbook) and the Triumph Hurdle (17.0 BETDAQ) at Cheltenham.

Peking Opera, 21.0 for the Triumph with BETDAQ, was Group placed with Aidan O’Brien on the Flat and ‘could be anything’, as one who ‘works like a lazy donkey at home’ but won well at Sandown on the debut.


FISH FOR ANGLERS CRAG

⭕ 2.08 Newcastle (Eider Chase, 4m 1.5f) The Galloping Bear was Eider runner-up last year but needed the softer ground he has today. Can he bounce back at age 11, a pound below the top-weight? Not for me but conditions suit.

Scottish National third off today’s mark, Major Dundee also enjoyed softer ground when winning the Midlands Grand National last March. But pulled up latest in first-time visor, which is kept on.

A big galloping sort, Anglers Crag has improved 20lb since joining Brian Ellison from David Pipe, short-heading subsequent North Yorkshire Grand National winner, Track And Trace, in December though that one let the form down when I napped it yesterday.

Dual 3m 2f winner as a novice, Fenland Tiger is also on the upgrade and Flower Of Scotland won the Borders National.

Christopher Wood has been placed 22 times but has gone 16 starts in two years without winning. Weighted to place again but it’s hard to see him getting out of the woods.

Cruz Control may jump better upped in trip, and it may also suit the Punchestown winner, Easy Bucks, who carries a featherweight.

BETDAQ value 5.5 Anglers Crag


TAHMURAS PENDIL MARK

⭕ 2.27 Kempton (Pendil Novices Chase, 2m 4.5f) Paul Nicholls has set the promising Tahmuras the task of following on his six winners of this race in nine years, among them Cyrname, Frodon and Pic D’Orhy.

Blow Your Wad has a 17lb pull to turn around a 10-lengths hiding from Le Patron in November but I’ll go for a Nicholls four-timer, his last two winners of this beating hot favourites. I took 3.45 on BETDAQ.


EYDON HEYDAY TO COME

⭕ 3.20 Southwell (Winter Derby) Since Oisin Murphy partners The Foxes for the Andrew Balding yard in the £945k Turf Cup at Riyadh against Luxembourg (Aidan O’Brien), Kevin Stott comes in for the ride on 2022 Guineas fourth Eydon.

Now I wonder why Eydon remains entire; is it by any chance because he is first foal of a Frankel mare and ‘could yet be anything’? It most certainly could.

Lord North tries to do the double and give Team Gosden five out of six Winter Derbys. But the question is whether Southwell, and an an extra furlong, will suit Lord North or his 2023 runner-up, Tyrrhenian Sea.

Betdaq Betting Exchange 2.5 Lord North, 8.1 Eydon


STICKING TO THE PLAN..

⭕ 3.37 Kempton (3m handicap chase) No past winners of this with a double-figure age or carrying more than 11st 11lb, so the old-timers Sam Brown and Al Dancer from last year’s winning stable are up against it. But up against what?

Eight of Il Ridoto’s last 10 starts have been in Grade 3 at Cheltenham; four times placed, one win. Are they serious that the question of whether he wanted a flat track was not raised until January!

Tweed Skirt and Flegmatik have always done best on good to soft ground. Bowtogreatness is from a stable in form and the improver is Forward Plan, though stablemate Blackjack Magic will love the ground.

BETDAQ value 8.6 Flegmatik, 9.3 Forward Plan


VANILLIER LOOKS WELL IN

⭕ 3.50 Fairyhouse (Bobbyjo Chase) As I said in my preview in the week, the 2022 winner, Any Second Now, went on to be second at Aintree, and last year’s Bobbyjo second, Vanillier, was also runner-up in the National.

Despite the small turn-out today, it features four who are already guaranteed a place in the National field so it’s not to be missed.

Irish Grand National winner on this course last April, I Am Maximus won a Grade 1 novice, the Drinmore, here in December.

But Vanillier must win today if we relate the Bobbyjo weights to the National: the grey gets 4lb more today from I Am Maximus, who in fact has to give weight all round. The two others are not well in with the leading pair this afternoon.

DAQMAN’S BETS

1.15 Kempton (win 20)
BET 5pts win LARGY POET
BET 3pts win MARK OF GOLD

2.08 Newcastle (win 20)

BET 4.75pts win ANGLERS CRAG

2.27 Kempton (win 12 nap)

BET 5pts win TAHMURAS

3.20 Southwell (win 20, win 10)

BET 3pts win EYDON
BET 6pts win LORD NORTH

3.37 Kempton (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)

BET 6.5pts win FLEGMATIK
BET 6pts win FORWARD PLAN

3.50 Fairyhouse (win 12)

BET 6.5pts win VANILLIER


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