NOW IT’S NINE WINNING NAPS OUT OF ELEVEN: Daqman relied on Sir Michael Stoute for the second day running to land back-to-back naps with Plover (WON 10-11) yesterday following Baihas (WON 8-13) on Tuesday for his ninth winning best bet from the last 11.
TODAY HE STAYS WITH STOUTE FOR 4-1 SHOT: Daqman’s naps sequence is now 11111110411. Sir Michael’s form is 114013221141 (that’s 50%) in a week. The nap stays with him for Altharoos at Sandown, around 4-1 this morning in what Daqman describes as ‘a two-horse race with Homage.’
TOP TEN HORSES TO FOLLOW: Now here is a classic Daqman 10 to follow, based on the action in the big conditions races so far. Look out next week for his preview of Royal Ascot for more top horses.
LIBERTARIAN Libertarian and Magician were my pick of the trials and either one could so easily have won the Epsom Derby. Fate conspired against them.
Such was snobbery and the Ballydole-lemming approach that the Dante winner was ignored by punters because he was not with a fashionable stable, even though it has been the best Epsom guide in recent years.
John Reid, whom I revered as a jockey, said it was the worst Dante in memory. That sort of comment helped keep Libertarian close to the 21.0 I took on BETDAQ.
Granted a fast pace, Libertarian might well have won the Derby but it was a pace slowed down for Battle Of Marengo and the prize fell into the lap of Ruler Of The World, whose brilliant jockey, Ryan Moore, was most alive to the danger that modest fractions had created.
Libertarian, who had been so green in the Sandown Classic Trial that he was eight lengths behind the Epsom third, Galileo Rock, and was still swerving off a line at York, roared through late, straight as a gun barrel this time, but the racing world already had a new ruler. For now.
In finishing second, Libertarian turned around the Galileo Rock form by anything up to a stone and his rating has shot up like that beanstalk the kids made me go see at half-term. He was an 82 in April and I thought he must now be closer to 122.
As I wrote that, I heard that the BHA handicapper was pegging Ruler Of The World right down to 120, so Libertarian is 117. I think he is very much the pretender to the throne and will earn my mark before the summer is over.
Incidentally, I shall not be attaching myself to the idea that Trading Leather, whom he beat in the Dante, or Sugar Boy, who beat him in the Sandown Trial, are now ‘good things’ wherever they go.
It’s the emergent horse you want not an opportunist on a trials day. For instance, had they latched on to Ruler Of The World after the Chester Vase, the runner-up, Mister Impatience, would have been long odds on next time out.
He’d surely have been a winning white-hot favourite.. in an ordinary Listed, maybe even long odds-on.
In fact, Mister Impatience was beaten eight lengths in just such a Listed, not even favourite, fourth of five at an easy-to-back 9-4.
The winner, Hoarding, had himself been 11 lengths behind the Derby ninth, Mirsaale, in the earlier Epsom Derby Trial.
In fact, I’m not knocking any of these horses (Hoarding is a pretty solid looking improver): I’m pointing out that the bad winter resulted in strange results, based on late development among colts and fillies alike (Talent) and, even now, we may not have seen the true leaders emerge from the pack.
Incidentally, my Derby choice, Ocovango, was badly ridden, trapped on the rails and hampered twice. Watch out for him in the Grand Prix De Paris.
LOCH GARMAN I made this one my first choice in the French Derby on Sunday, though greatly fearing – and backing – the Fabre pair, Intello and Sky Hunter.
It was more of a shock to me than the Dawn Approach flop when Loch Garman failed to perform but there were excuses. According to trainer Jim Bolger, Loch Garman was struck into early on in the race.
However, no Press report I have read so far has pointed out that Gentleman Jim had run 27 horses in a fortnight for only one winner (in a Curragh maiden).
Nor did I see any report which said that, granted Dawn Approach’s disappointment at being restrained, and his fighting for his head, he ran like an animal badly out of kilter, either with his health or with racing.
You don’t necessarily finish stone-bonking last because you didn’t settle or didn’t stay, even both. Not a horse of his class.
I think Dawn Approach is now a colt you’ll have to catch fresh over 7f and 1m. Of the two, I’d rather wait on Loch Garman’s return to fitness. I would like to see him ready for the Irish Champion Stakes.
INTELLO We badly needed Loch Garman to run his race at Chantilly on Sunday, so that we had collateral form to the French colts. As it is, we must rely on the visual impression the winner, Intello, gave. It was pretty awesome.
The Racing Post had him only a pound behind Ruler Of The World before the two Derbys, and it will be interesting to see the outcome of their latest deliberations, whether they are still that close.
SHIKARPOUR I warned before Chantilly that the Prix Du Jockey Club would likely come too soon for the Aga Khan’s Shikarpour. Not given a hard time to finish fifth.
I understand that he may try The Curragh Derby but his future is being plotted along the lines of another Dr Fong (US-bred) colt, Shamdinan, who, after The Curragh, won the Group 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park. You read it here first.
MAGICIAN I loved Magician’s smooth fluency when he won the Dee Stakes at Chester, disdaining the vagaries of the track. There’s no doubt in my mind that he would have been able to glide over the hills and cambers of Epsom.
But, as Ballydoyle first put up Mars, then Battle Of Marengo as its Derby colt, Ruler Of The World got shuffled back and Magician was shunted sideways to the Irish Guineas, in which he put up the best winning performance by a three-year-old this year, barring Intello’s French Derby.
The Curragh Classic was too close to Epsom and both Mars and Battle Of Marengo lost the Derby to their own team tactics. Battle Of Marengo ironically helped set up the slow pace that suited the Ruler Of The World surge, with Ryan Moore showing that his brain works when others don’t.
We again saw Moore’s expert handling when he won the Epsom Dash on Duke Of Firenze. We call it split-second timing. But ‘Firenze’ was more nanosecond timing.
BRASS RING This is my idea of a Cup horse one day or, at this stage of his career, the Cesarewitch (Darley Sun and Spirit Of Love have won it as three-year-olds in the last 15 years).
He is still only a class-3 handicapper but, even as a ‘big baby’ (quote unquote Rob Havlin, jockey) success at 1m 4f (twice) is a huge bonus, since he is bred more for 2m 4f.
In fact, he is related to a 1m4f Group winner on the Flat and 2m 5f hurdle and chase winners. ‘Could be anything’. Winner of a Newmarket race in early May which produced last year’s runner-up in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot.
THE LARK Ralph Beckett (Talent first), and Michael Bell (The Lark third and Madama Defarge 11th) had the late developers in the Oaks.
It’s hard to see anything avenging defeat by the near-four lengths winner Talent.
But we know for certain now that the three-year-old talent (choice of words intended) is only now coming through and, normally, you’d expect the fillies to be later than the colts.
The Lark and Moth were the finishers among the also-rans, although it might be well to remember for the future that the Oaks was run on good to soft, whereas the going had dried up somewhat for the Derby the day after.
As for Moth, the jury really is still out on this one. And they’ve asked for more time. Late finisher in the Guineas (unbalanced in the Dip), late finisher in the Oaks (unbalanced by the course).
I never like sustained excuses – she could be making her own trouble – but Ballydoyle has sprung fillies to win from the jaws of defeat before now. Maybe by making more use of Moth back in trip (1m 2f).
RIVERBOAT SPRINGS Now for my top two-year-olds, starting with this half-brother to an Australian flying machine, Four Iron.
While the winner of the Woodcote Stakes on Derby day, Thunder Strike, looks sure to continue his sequence, the springheeled finish by runner-up ‘Riverboat’’ had to be seen to be believed.
Mick Channon’s colt is son of the unbeaten Bushranger, who sequenced through the Anglesey, Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes, himself a son of Danetime, prolific sprinter and sire of sprinters.
Riverboat Springs’ dam is a Selkirk mare, so maybe some cut in the ground will always help him.
The mare was half-sister to a 1m 2f Grade-1 winner in the US and a 1m Group winner in France. Let’s cruise on the Riverboat!
SANDIVA Sooner or later the North must get its Classic winner, if only because of the rise and rise of the Richard Fahey yard, which hit the Guineas-preview headlines with Garswood.
Garswood won an unfashionable Guineas trial – the Free Handicap – but there were still high hopes of improvement going into Newmarket. In fact, he left the impression that he’s more of a sprinter.
Fahey now has Sandiva to look forward with: first stop Royal Ascot. The Footstepsinthesand filly, related on the dam’s side to winners up to 1m 3f at Group level, has exuded class as an impressive winner of her maiden at Nottingham and then in a fast time at Naas.
In Monday’s Listed Naas race she travelled easily and showed a lengthening stride that soon had her rivals in trouble, among them runners for Jim Bolger, Aidan O’Brien and Richard Hannon, though none of them backed to beat her.
The Nottingham race has already thrown up an Albany Stakes winner at Royal Ascot, a Hilary Needler winner, and a sequence scorer up to Listed level.
A check on the Ruler Of The World CV (started his career in April 2013) and that of Talent (not seen since last August) is further proof that two-year-olds winning before Ascot are unlikely to figure in next year’s Classics.
So it will be interesting to see what R. Fahey does with Sandiva, with her breeding shouting out for a second-season career. Unless, of course, he has something better at home.
SIR JOHN HAWKINS The two-year-old ‘classics’ of 2013 seem certain to feature this son of English and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Henrythenavigator out of dual Oaks winner Peeping Fawn.
After Sir John’s impressive debut on May 26 in a race he uses to launch his stars, the trainer said of this colt: ‘He has loads of speed and could be a Royal Ascot horse, though that might come too quick; he’s still green.’ That trainer? Aidan O’Brien. Here we go again.
BET 6pts win SPIETA (4.15 Brighton)
BET 6.6pts win RISING DAWN (6.15 Sandown)
BET 4pts win REBECCA ROMERO (6.50 Sandown)
BET 5pts win (nap) ALTHAROOS and 3pts win (stakes saver) HOMAGE (7.55 Sandown)
BET 3.3pts win DAMBUSTER (8.30 Sandown)
DAQMAN’S TARGETS: Each horse is backed to win 20 points at morning BETDAQ offers. Just one winner gets you within a couple of points of breakeven.
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