AINTREE SHOCK: CONTI OUT FOR THE COUNT: Our daredevil daily tipster Daqman opposes the hotpot Silviniaco Conti today, based on the public worries of his trainer.. and a bigger improver in the race!

AINTREE SHOCK: 19.0 A ‘GIFT’ ABOUT A WILLIE MULLINS RUNNER: Daqman finds 33.0 (twice) and 19.0 on BETDAQ are offers he ‘can’t believe’ about a Willie Mullins runner and a ‘gift’ from BETDAQ layers for the last race.

2.00 Aintree (Matalan Hurdle) The market says this is a rerun of the January 1-2 at Cheltenham when Rolling Star beat Irish Saint.

But Rolling Star – both wins on heavy – finished only sixth in the Triumph Hurdle, just behind Vasco Du Ronceray (hooded first time), confirming the form of Vasco’s narrow defeat by Irish Saint at Kempton in February.

The top-rated horses seem all of a heap, don’t they, and it’s a case of which one does better on a flat track on the different ground, which is mainly guesswork.

And it’s hard to oppose them with Flaxen Flare, because he’s another similar horse, if you take the form at face value: he was 26 lengths behind Our Conor; Rolling Star 23 lengths.

Additionally, you have to assume that Flaxen Flare will run the same race again, as his Fred Winter win came in first-time blinkers – they don’t always work again – and he’s stepping up to a Grade-1 from a handicap.

Those are all the negatives: the positive is that Ditcheat dodged the Cheltenham Festival with Irish Saint to run at Aintree today, so they opted early for a flat track on a sound surface. It’s good to be on a fresh horse at this time of year.

And one surprise winkled out of the form-book may sort the wheat from that heap of valuable chaff: Flaxen Flare’s Fred Winter was run 10 seconds faster than the Triumph.

2.30 Aintree Bowl The man stopping Silviniaco Conti from going to banker-bet long-odds-on this morning was none other than his trainer, Paul Nicholls, who told the reader of his column: ‘I personally would advise a degree of caution.’

You never know what Cheltenham has taken out of them, he warns, and there is ‘a little doubt’ in the back of the mind.

That’s always true, Paul; but it’s not like you. You sound more like that nerve-racked Lambourn fellow (what’s his name), Nicky Henderson. Sounds like Silviniaco may not have recovered from Cheltenham in time for this, though he tells the Racing Post that the horse didn’t have a hard race at Cheltenham and ‘I’m very happy with him.’

Where does that leave us? The answer is reading between the lines, as ever for the punter: Nicholls has his main eye on the BF Chase for this horse and it’s his BF reader that he warns about his worries. There’s no bigger BF than yours truly, but I fancy a lay at odds on, expecting to get out on that later on.

How far will he drift in the market, and then, potentially, become backable, I have to leave to you. But, from where I’m sitting over the cornflakes, he’s a lay at odds on; anything better than evens, and I shall get the calculator out, looking to cover my tail.

What can beat an off-colour Conti? Menorah, The Giant Bolster and Wayward Prince (holds Quito De La Roque) have all been so far adrift of him, they’re hard to fancy, though Menorah’s always liked Aintree (fences and hurdles).

It surely has to be First Lieutenant; though the same ‘hard race at Cheltenham’ proviso must apply, he doesn’t have the hill of Cheltenham which was his undoing against Cue Card.

His 4.9 on BETDAQ this morning absorbs the concern and, you know, officially, he’s only 5lb off Silviniaco Conti in the ratings.

That means he has improved 11lb since December 1, against 7lb for Silviniaco Conti. His form in England is 1232 and he looks a great win and place bet. We simply don’t know until the race itself which horses will run to their form but we do know when the odds are against us.

Too nervous to have a tilt? Well, let me help: seven horses placed in the Gold Cup – as Silviniaco might have been – have gone to post in this Aintree Bowl; only one has won. Overall 35 Gold contestants produced just five winners of this – none had fallen at Cheltenham – which is 6-1 against, not the odds on I see about Silviniaco Conti this morning.

3.05 Aintree Hurdle This is a Champion Hurdle if it wasn’t 2m 4f. And that’s what we must bear in mind when looking at the form.

Three of the first four in the betting – Grandouet, Countrywide Flame and Zarkandar – have never won this far. Countrywide Flame, second in a Cesarewitch and a year or more the youngster of most of this field, is the one you’d expect to do so, if he can keep his head in the early stages.

But there is another five-year-old on the card, The New One, and he has been mighty impressive at 21f twice at Cheltenham.

However, he’s only a novice, currently rated 13lb behind Countrywide Flame, and 12lb behind Oscar Whisky and Zarkandar, so this time you’re betting that he has no fitness worries after Cheltenham and that he will improve again three weeks on.

You have to go back 20 years to find novices from Neptune success capable of winning this, so it really is another test of your nerve: are you going to bet at 4.5 that The New One is that good?

There are only ounces between Grandouet and Countrywide Flame on lines through their beating of Zarkandar and only 0.2 points between them, 0.8 behind The New One, on BETDAQ as I write.

The consolation is that the BETDAQ market tots up to only 102% total probability, as I write, so you takes your choice, at least knowing that you are in punter-friendly territory.

I think Countrywide Flame will enjoy this track and trip, and that his is the Grade-1 form that matters here. But Denis O’Regan will be looking over his shoulder for The New One.

3.40 Aintree (Fox Hunters’ Chase) If worries about Cheltenham form have proved unfounded at this stage of the day, beware that Foxhunter form at the festival does not carry forward to the Fox Hunters’ Chase here. Better you were unplaced, hunting round at Cheltenham than have busted your lungs there.

Horses aged 11 have easily the best record and Boxer Georg, narrowly beaten in this two years ago, has been trained with the race in mind again, and 19.0 is a BETDAQ layers gift for a Willie Mullins’ runner.

Three priced under 7-1, Gwanako, Cottage Oak and Warne, plus one at 33.0, Silver Story, fit the stats for this.

Gwanako’s Aintree form is UFF (this is deffo one for Mr Nicholls to have qualms about); Warne owes his prominence to just one race really, and Cottage Oak was placed at Cheltenham. So I’ll have the outsider.

4.15 Aintree (Red Rum Chase) This time have no doubts about a novice: they’ve won six of the last 10 runnings of this race, and young horses have been winning in recent years.

Astracad, second last year, races off a 2lb-lower mark, even though he’s miles better off with Silver Roque (and therefore Kid Cassidy) on course form here at the backend.

Paul Nicholls, who won the race last year, has the obvious danger in Rebel Rebellion, a winner on heavy at Sandown, despite hating the ground.

5.25 Aintree (Silver Cross Hurdle) I’ve stuck with Easter Day in my horses-to-follow lists, as I’ve watched Nicholls nurture him (and help him with a breathing op) and I hope that patience is rewarded): 11.5 this morning says that I will be eternally grateful.

I can’t believe that Double Ross, favoured by the ground and ran a blinder at Cheltenham, is 33.0. The reason probably is that pundits claim he won’t like the trip. ‘Twiston’ says he will ‘love it.’

BET 5.8pts win (nap) IRISH SAINT and 4.2pts win FLAXEN FLARE (2.00 Aintree)
LAY 10pts SILVINIACO CONTI, and 5pts win and place FIRST LIEUTENANT (2.30 Aintree)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 8.5pts win THE NEW ONE and 6.6pts win COUNTRYWIDE FLAME (3.05 Aintree)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 1.6pts win and place BOXER GEORG, 0.9pts win and place SILVER STORY (3.40 Cheltenham)
BET 2.8pts win REBEL REBELLION and 1.6pts win ASTRACAD (4.15 Aintree)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 3.9pts win JETSON, 2.8pts win and place EASTER DAY and 0.9pts win and place DOUBLE ROSS (5.25 Aintree)
HORSES TO FOLLOW: Easter Day (5.25 Liverpool)

DAQMAN’S BETS are staked to win 20 points unless otherwise stated.

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