DAQMAN BIG-RACE HOPE LOVES MUD: Heavy ground but Newbury is on and Daqman finds a big-race Hope at 18.0 that would act on a ploughed field! He leads Pricewise 24-9 in their value challenge.
THE NAP RUNS IN A SPRINT TONIGHT: Daqman is quiet about his nap but we understand it will sprint out of the gate at Wolverhampton tonight. That’s more hope, then, but he has had 15 winning naps this year already.
HASTHING OR 41.0 LONG SHOT
⭕ 12.55 Newbury (2m novices hurdle) Following the novices has been a tricky enterprise this winter, witness the form figures of three leading entries for this: 14 East India Express, 13 Paradias, 124 Making Headway.
Not making much headway at all, are they! And, typically of these days of weather-beaten form study, just as I’m considering them, Paradias is declared a non-runner.
Another indicator of ‘novice hell’ is that, in the last six years of this race, three hot favourites in a row won (2017-20), two for Nicky Henderson, and then, in the last three years, they all lost – three flops for Henderson – with the winners’ SPs 7-2, 7-1 and 11-1.
Can Hasthing be the one to hold his form, odds on each time for 2-2 over hurdles on soft and heavy?
Or will something like Fourtowns emerge from his first hurdle, a steady improver in bumpers, bred to stay in the mud, from a stable in good form, and with Harry Cobden riding at a 35% strike rate. BETDAQ 41.0 this morning.
SAM SPOTTED BACK ON EQUINUS
⭕ 1.30 Newbury (3m handicap hurdle) Nigel Twiston-Davies is not the force of old but has had three winners in 11 days’ racing, two of them with Sam in the saddle, both well backed.
Equinus quickly halved in price for this race last night, and is 7.7 on BETDAQ as I write. An easy winner in the grade in the autumn, now dropping back from class 2, with Sam doing the steering for the first time since last Spring.
Kyntara (BETDAQ 4.6) is by stayers’ stallion Kayf Tara; has climbed 15lb up the ratings under Charlie Deutsch, but may have more to come.
Little but brave Judicial Law was within a couple of lengths of a 20-1 surprise at Cheltenham in October; a winner on soft ground, though his best form is on good and I worry that the clogmire will hold him down.
LOOK AWAY NOW: IT’S SHISHKIN
⭕ 2.05 Newbury (Denman Chase) Nicky Henderson punters have to fear the Ascot bogey with both Shishkin in this and, in the big hurdle, Iberico Lord (downed tools there the last day).
Shishkin refused to race in his Ascot prep for the King George, in which he was leading two out when he jumped the fence but kicked himself in the shin while still in the air, and buckled on landing.
The architect of Denman’s career – Paul Nicholls – has won this three times in the decade but Hitman has been disappointing and has 16lb to find with Shishkin and 7lb with another disappointment, Protektorat, second in this race in 2022.
Protektorat and Does He Know were second and fourth behind the revived L’Homme Presse at Lingfield last month. A race to watch or turn away!
SIVOLA HUGE 9.8 FOR HAT-TRICK
⭕ 2.40 Newbury (Game Spirit Chase) After Altior’s hat-trick in this (2017, 18, 20), Funambule Sivola – winner for the last two years – tries to do the same.
He is 1211 at Newbury and you can ignore the rest of his form. Offers about him of 9.8 on BETDAQ will give you a value interest without having to answer the following questions?
Which of Amarillo Sky (from a 378-day absence) and Boothill (from a fall at Kempton) can bounce back?
And can Tingle Creek runner-up to Jonbon, Edwardstone at last show the form that brought him five in a row in 2022? He’s been beaten favourite three times since.
MULLINS STING AS HE FACES BEES
⭕ 3.15 Newbury (Premier Handicap Hurdle) STATS: See Thursday Daqman.
1: OCASTLE DES MOTTES Willie Mullins swerved the Dublin Festival with this one to travel to England with a 6lb lower mark, and the one for the money this morning.
First run since moving from Gaby Leenders in France to the same ownership as El Fabiolo; won two 4yo hurdles on very soft and heavy in France last Spring and summer.
2: BRENTFORD HOPE Gerry Feilden third, laid out for this by the burgeoning yard of Harry Derham, and named by the Optimiists syndicate after Brentford (The Bees) Premier League club.
My man on the Downs says: ‘Heavy ground? Ideally this one needs it ploughing with a tractor!’ Group level on the Flat.
3: IBERICO LORD Nicky Henderson, who dominates this race, has withdrawn two this morning and left in only Iberico Lord and Doddiethegreat, who is too old for this on the stats.
Iberico Lord was a drifter this morning, probably because you have to forgive him his last race when he downed tools after three out at Ascot (‘no reason could be found’)
Won the Greatwood (soft) at Cheltenham first run back, receiving 6lb from the second, the pace horse Lookaway (it’s now 3lb).
4: L’EAU DU SUD Pulled up and downgraded to 129 after the Greatwood but came back with ulcers. Has been working well again recently. Ran third in a big–field race at Kelso in March as a 5yo.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 6.4 Ocastle Des Mottes, 9.9 Iberico Lord, 18 Brentford Hope, 29 L’Eau Du Sud.
12.55 Newbury (win 10, win 40)
BET 5pts win HASTHING
BET 1.25pts win and place FOURTOWNS
1.30 Newbury (win 20, win 10)
BET 3pts win EQUINUS
BET 3pts win KYNTARA
2.40 Newbury (win 20)
BET 2.25pts win FUNAMBULE DE SIVOLA
3.15 Newbury (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 9.25pts win OCASTLE DES MOTTES
BET 3pts win and place BRENTFORD HOPE
BET 1.75pts win and place L’EAU DU SUD
7.00 Wolverhampton (win 20, nap)
BET 4.4pts @ 5.5 HARRY BROWN
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