CLASSIC DAY FOR THE TITLE RACE: There are two Saturdays in one today with the Greenham Classic-trials meeting at Newbury, where the Spring Cup is a big betting handicap, and the Scottish National at Ayr, scene of the ongoing title battle between Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton.

BIG BETDAQ VALUE FOR PUNTERS: Daqman finds BETDAQ bets at 7.6, 8.4, 9.0, 9.6, 11.0, 11.5 (twice), 16.5 and 19.0 (twice). He leads Pricewise 13-8 in their value challenge.


ARREST IS THE GOSDEN CUP HORSE

⭕ 1.30 Newbury (John Porter Stakes) Max Vega won this two years ago and his Newbury record is 221013 but he was only third last year and an older horse – over six – has won it only once since the turn of the century.

Al Qareem beat Max Vega in November when comfortably held by Hamish (4-4 in Group 3 last year); both love it soft but the ground at Newbury is drying out.

Arrest is 111 after a break. Took the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury in August for Team Gosden, then ran second in the St Leger. That’s good enough for this on the way to the Yorkshire Cup: BETDAQ 3.85 taken.

⭕ 2.05 Newbury (Fred Darling Stakes) Recent winners of this fillies trial have finished no nearer than fifth in the 1,000 Guineas and this small field has only Elmalka, Regal Jubilee and Star Music engaged at Newmarket.


THERE’S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

⭕ 2.40 Newbury (Greenham Stakes) The Greenham has also slumped as a Classic guide since Frankel blossomed here in 2011.

French form has been shown up in the trials so far and morning-drifter Zoum Zoum, heavy-ground winner of a Listed there in November, and Ballymount Boy, only eighth in the Lagardere, suggest that this is not a great Grade 3.

Son (Richard Hannon won the Craven earlier this week) and Room Service (Kevin Ryan) were 8.4 and 9.0 respectively for trainers in form on BETDAQ this morning. Room Service was brought on carefully last year and is better than the bare form.

Mister Sketch was second in the Mill Reef but James Doyle prefers Ballymount Boy. El Bodon is highly regarded at home and Tom Marquand is booked.


BACKING HUGHES A REAL GAIN

⭕ 3.15 Newbury (Spring Cup) With a big field in two groups, a high draw (11, 12, 16, 21) has scored from the near-side bunch but equally likely the winner could come from low numbers on the far flank: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (twice), so take one on each extreme. Four-year-olds are 6-10.

Lattam won the 2023 Irish Lincolnshire and followed up second in the Spring Cup out of stall 12.

In 16 today, might nearly have won the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster in March but for a bump when making progress; Navagio third; Alpha Crucis fourth; Thunder Ball seventh.

A big horse, Terwada (21) was backward at coming forward last year but won on the July Course before being gelded, and the trainer is in form.

Sierra Blanca (4) has Sean Levey up but that didn’t stop Richard Hannon winning with Voyage (Pat Dobbs 28-1) yesterday, and he also has Talis Evolvere out of 15 (Joe Leavy 5)

Wherever he went, Richard Hughes has had winners in the last two weeks: Chelmsford, Kempton, Southwell, Newmarket and Wolverhampton.

Real Gain (gate 2) has won for him after a long break, and has been gelded since attempting a Group 3 at Newmarket in October. He can put it in for them now.

Metal Merchant (6) won only once last year, and after 10 races was rated a pound lower. Again, a gelding op may help.

Betdaq Betting Exchange 9.6 Real Gain, 11.5 Lattam, 19 Terwada


SHARJAH HEADS MULLINS CHARGE

⭕ 1.50 Ayr (Champion Novices Handicap) Willie Mullins tries Sharjah at 3m for the first time aged 11 after 48 races.

That’s like riding your first bike when you’re over 70 but the rest of the pack are on the road with punctures and flat tyres and Sharjah is a tempting 7.6 as I write.

A more amenable age is seven and Dan Skelton – twice winner of this in four seasons – has Hitching Jacking (BETDAQ 11.0) with not a lot of weight but not a lot of encouraging form. Deeper Blue has also been placed without winning.


SUD ANOTHER ONE FOR SKELTON

⭕ 2.25 Ayr (Scottish Champion Hurdle) Rubaud had Salsada fifth and First Street seventh in this last year, and completed a hat-trick with back-to-back success in the autumn.

But he has to give 10lb to 4.7 offer L’Eau Du Sud in a title-race battle between Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton.

L’Eau Du Sud was second in the big Newbury hurdle in February and then the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. That’s cost him a 9lb rise in this limited handicap but it may not stop him.

Favour And Fortune, not disgraced in the Supreme, makes his handicap debut off the same mark. Cracking Rhapsody is the race improver.


VANGO VALUE FOR AYR NATIONAL

⭕ 3.35 Ayr (Scottish Grand National) Though I chose Macdermott yesterday over Mr Incredible from the six Willie Mullins runners, this single-chase winner would be a stats-buster.

Just once since 1947 has the Scottish National been won by a six-year; that was Earth Summit off 10st bottomweight for Nigel Twiston-Davies in 1994.

The ‘Twiston’ stable won the Midlands Grand National in March with Beauport from Mr Incredible with My Silver Lining third (lost shoe).

A Mullins octet won him the Liverpool race with I Am Maximus, but also the wooden spoon when Mr Incredible dwelt at the start then contrived to get himself hampered twice before unseating.

My Silver Lining The grey mare has won or been placed in the Warwick Classic, Haydock Park Grand National Trial and Midlands Grand National; all that this year, so can she keep up the good work 20lb higher.

Macdermott had struggled until raised in trip to the Fairyhouse 3m, when he ran away with the it, scoring 12 lengths on heavy and incurring the handicapper’s displeasure.

He is by the sire of Protektorat, Djakadam, Fastorslow, Burrows Saint, and a heap of other good horses, so he is steeped in class and stamina; he, too, is only six but 18.0 on BETDAQ this morning is clearly worth a bit of win and place..

Another Mullins, Spanish Harlem, is seemingly the choice of Paul Townend, whose ride on I Am Maximus has guaranteed the jockey’s place in jumpings hall of fame alongside Ruby Walsh and Pat Taaffe.

But it’s back to square one on the stats: Spanish Harlem has never yet raced beyond 2m 4f. He, too, is only six. And he’s by the same sire as the very fast El Fabiolo.

Git Maker He’s eight but only as experienced as the younger horses; just seven chases, though his last was second in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham to a Grade-1 winner since. Whacker Clan was a remote third.

Anglers Crag has risen two stone up the ratings, with four in a row since joining Brian Ellison from David Pipe, culminating in the Eider Chase at Newcastle, when Tommie Beau was third, giving 10lb.

Inis Oirr won the Edinburgh National by 21 lengths and a good run would soften the blow of stablemate Corach Rambler’s first-fence exit at Liverpool.

Mr Vango (BETDAQ 11.5) ran second in the NH Chase at Cheltenham, won in the recent past by future Aintree Grand National winner, Tiger Roll, with places at Liverpool for Cause Of Causes and Gaillard Du Mesnil.

BETDAQ value: 19.0 Macdermott, 16.5 Mr Incredible, 11.5 Mr Vango

DAQMAN’S BETS

1.30 Newbury (win 15, nap)
BET 5pts win ARREST

1.50 Ayr (win 20)
BET 3pts win SHARJAH
BET 2pts win HITCHING JACK

2.25 Ayr (win 20)
BET 5pts win L’EAU DU SUD

2.40 Newbury (win 20)
BET 2.75pts win SON
BET 2.5pts win ROOM SERVICE

3.15 Newbury (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 5.75pts win REAL GAIN
BET 2.75pts win TERWADA
BET 2pts to win 20 LATTAM

3.35 Ayr (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 5pts win MR VANGO
BET 3pts win MCDERMOTT
BET 2pts to win 30 MR INCREDIBLE


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DAQMAN Mon: Yarmouth NAP
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