O’BRIEN NAPPED TO STRIKE AGAIN TODAY: Another and another Derby trial goes to Aidan O’Brien, and Daqman naps him in the Leopardstown test for Epsom today, ahead of next week’s final unveiling of Classic hopes in the Dante and Musidora. Which ones to follow: look out for the first Fortune Cookies.

TOMORROW: The acid test of the Classic tests! York preview and top colts to date.


It was a busman’s holiday just for a day. While staying with friends in France, I sneaked away to Chantilly and interviewed Criquette Head.

The subject was the dual Arc winner, Treve, one of the first in a series of wonder mares this century that would later on include Enable, Treve’s copycat if you like, with two Arcs herself.

Extolling Treve’s abilities, and those of her team, Criquette asked me not to forget the mare’s young work-rider. I scribbled the name, not sure afterwards if I could decipher my notes; in fact, never to hear it again until now: Kevin Philippart De Foy.

Yesterday the 29-year-old Belgian arrived in the big time on his own account, with a double at Ascot as a trainer, including the Victoria Cup with Vafortino (‘Be lucky!”)

Meanwhile, across the cards at Lingfield Park, the one-two in the Oaks Trial featured Tom Clover, whose Rogue Millenium pipped Mystic Wells, saddled by George Boughey, who has just won the 1,000 Guineas aged 27.

Clover, trainer of 15 winners this year, striking at 25%, is the old man of my trio of new kids on the block, aged 36.

They were a welcome reminder that there’s more to racing than the two-week Classic-trials battle between Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby, which continues at York this week and had just produced another close finish to a Derby test, with Ryan Moore dominant yet again.

My view of United Nations and Walk Of Stars after their dour struggle in the Lingfield Derby Trial? Neither could change gear at any stage; they are gallopers best marked in your notebook for a St Leger or for next year’s Cup races.


⭕ 4.35 Leopardstown Derby Trial Aidan O’Brien has won this 14 times (fact check: FOURTEEN), six more than his great namesake, Vincent O’Brien.

Vincent’s roll of honour included Golden Fleece and Sadlers Wells; Aidan’s Galileo and Yeats. So, if you’re still looking for a real Epsom hero after the unsatisfactory tests at Chester and Lingfield, maybe this is the day.

The race was originally the Nijinsky in honour of Vincent’s superstar, and more recently the Derrinstown, with perhaps Aidan’s Dylan Thomas a recent winner to compare with the best.

Only Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger, with two each, have really troubled Ballydoyle, and they are here again today, with Duke Of Sessa (Weld), already third in the Ballysax, and Manu Et Corde (Bolger), runner-up to Luxembourg in the Beresford last autumn.

Both course winners here, they are just a few pounds in the ratings behind O’Brien’s Stone Age and French Claim, trained by Paddy Twomey, just across the M8 at Cashel.

Stone Age (sire Galileo) was second in the Criterium De Saint-Cloud as a juvenile and established the highest rating in this field by landing the odds in a Navan 10-furlong. He was paying around 15 for 10 staked this morning on BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE .

French Claim (dam’s sire, Galileo) looked strong at the finish of his Cork prep race three weeks back.

Duke De Cessa, who beat Piz Badile at Leopardstown in October (French Claim fourth), allowed that one first run in the Ballysax over a furlong further, back here last month.

⭕ 5.05 Leopardstown (Amethyst Stakes) Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won this for 20 years, and is 0-7 in the decade (not even a place). He makes handicap-winner Ivy League take a sharp rise in class.

Patrick Sarsfield, who drops back to a mile here, likes cut in the ground and has won at Listed and been placed at Group-2 level.

Real Appeal’s form at Leopardstown is 31131, stepping up from handicap to Group 3 and finally making a Group-2 strike. Won when fresh in the Spring last year. BETDAQ 6.2


⭕ 3.25 Plumpton (Sussex Champion Chase) Though a quirky sort, Annual Invictus is 3111 at Plumpton over hurdles and fences. He found the Reynoldstown at Ascot beyond him; a modest third in first-time cheekpieces.

Slate House is back to form, looking for a hat-trick here for new licence holder Joe Tizzard but paying for it with a penalty which puts him up a stone since the start of his sequence.

Rose Sea Has is also being punished, up 10lb for back-to-back wins at a lower level in March but still at the right end of the handicap.

Conversely, Paul Nicholls’ Tamaroc Du Mathan (BETDAQ 4.9) is 10lb below his mark at this time last year. Grade-3 appearances the last twice, including runner-up in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.


3.25 Plumpton (win 20)

4.35 Leopardstown (win 15, nap)
BET 10pts win STONE AGE

5.05 Leopardstown (win 20)

What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….

Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.