DAQMAN THANKS SMOOTH STOCKING: Daqman was the big-race operator on Friday with a double but, though Onesmoothoperator (WON 12-1) was named in Daqman’s final four for the Northumberland Plate yesterday at 16.5 on BETDAQ, he staked elsewhere and it was his nap in the Pretty Polly in Ireland that salved his pride.

WON 11-10 BLUESTOCKING nap (BETDAQ 2.88 taken)

WON 5-1 BERGERAC (BETDAQ 8.4 taken) Prince Of Zenda 2nd 3-1
WON 7-2 TIFFANY (BETDAQ 6.0 taken) Darnation 2nd 9-1

IRISH DERBY VERDICT: Today’s hopes rest with his verdict on the Friendly rivalry in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.


⭕ 1.40 Curragh (Railway Stakes) The Railway Stakes launched great names among Vincent O’Brien’s 14 winners, including Nijinsky and El Gran Senor, and among 13 for Aidan O’Brien have been Rock Of Gibraltar.

But just two favourites have scored in the last 10 years and Aidan’s last two winners, Painted Cliffs (2015) and Van Beethoven (2018), both failed to win another race.

O’Brien’s runners in today’s race have all three won already, with Ryan Moore seemingly choosing Tunbridge Wells, whose sire produced the Windsor Castle winner.

But it was thought that Tunbridge Wells needed to do some growing up and bypass Royal Ascot for today’s test. He now wears cheekpieces for the first time, another hint of immaturity.

Similar returns reports paint a picture of a ‘babyish’ Henri Matisse, and The Parthenon has only recently got on the scoresheet at Gowran.

Of the English raiders, the runner-up to Principality (Richard Hannon) at Goodwood has since been gelded, so may not have applied himself fully that day!

The Strikin Viking (Kevin Ryan) appears in Manchester City’s sky-blue colours but any watching his York success wouldn’t easily apply the phrase ‘the sky’s the limit.’


⭕ 2.15 Curragh (Dash) Commanche Falls has been wound up as last year for this €59,000 Listed prize, with Tango Flare, the one he beat into fourth that day, now 5lb better for two-and-a-half lengths and wearing first-time cheekpieces.

Ano Syra, getting 10lb, comes out better than both of them under the conditions of the race, and she’s always run best at 6f, including close thirds here in the Phoenix Sprint last year and the Greenlands this Spring. I took 4.9 on Betdaq Betting Exchange.


⭕ 3.00 Uttoxeter (Summer Cup) This is where it all began for Dan Skelton and Uttoxeter is still his winningmost track with an overall 117 winners.

Though only seven, Hidden Heroics is a stalwart for the stable: 2-3 over hurdles in the Spring of 2022 and 2-2 in the late autumn.

A chase winner at Ludlow in December, he was back to form over his longest trip, 3m 3.5f, making all at Ludlow.
That puts him up into class 2 here with only 10st 3lb and similar good ground, getting nearly two stone from the top weight, Hang In There, not yet tested beyond 3m.

Hang On In There is useful to us because he’s pushed more than half the field out of the handicap, so carrying overweight!

They used Mole Court’s return over hurdles to try to get him to settle better; he seems to have taken that literally and pulled up. The ground will suit his return to fences.

Kinondo Kwetu was third in this last year and is up for the Cup again but he was favourite for a repeat in the race he won last year on the way to this one, but this time was never traveling and pulled up. So he now has to bounce back.

Go On Chez just slips into the handicap proper and is in very good form but the hunter-chase discipline rarely translates to the orthodox track. BETDAQ value: 6.9 Hidden Heroics, 9.9 Mole Court


⭕ 4.05 Curragh (Irish Derby) Daqman ABC guide: Thursday

ONLY TWO: I warned in my ABC guide to the Irish Derby that only two horses fell within the ratings band of previous winners in the decade and beyond: Los Angeles and Ambiente Friendly.

THEN THERE WAS ONE: I warned in my examination of four horses – in a column headed The Unforgiven – that I couldn’t back them in future (LAYS LOGIC) because of their bad attitude before and during races I saw. One has since finished last of 14; another is Los Angeles.

The Derby third was ‘sweating, fractious at the post, reluctant to load’ at Epsom; well backed but beaten six lengths, leading three out but losing two places in the next furlong.

As winner of the Leopardstown Derby Trial, he had been described as ‘workmanlike’.. ‘dwelt start; stayed on’.

Los Angeles certainly improved on that Trial and ‘the team’ at Ballydoyle have turned around a horse’s form before now.

But, with Ambiente Friendly – more than three lengths in front of him at Epsom – said to be ‘growing all the time’ and getting bullish reports from the gallops, I have to go for the English raider. BETDAQ 2.56 this morning.


2.15 Curragh (win 20)
BET 5pts win ANO SYRA

3.00 Uttoxeter (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 5.5pts win MOLE COURT

4.05 Curragh (win 20, nap)

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