WELSH GRAND NATIONAL PREVIEW: Daqman has already previewed the King George on Boxing Day but for many the biggest betting race over Christmas will be next Tuesday’s Welsh Grand National. Check off next week’s Fortune Cookies when runners are declared.
FOUR DAQMAN BETS FOR THURSDAY: Daqman picks two at Ayr and two at Ffos Las today, hoping for a return to spend on Boxing Day.
TOP 10 CHRISTMAS COOKIES
*FORTUNE COOKIES with engagements next week.
ASHTOWN LAD 2.50 Chepstow, Tuesday (Welsh Grand National)
BRAVEMANSGAME 2.30 Kempton, Monday (King George)
BRAZIL 1.30 Limerick, Thursday
EDWARDSTONE 2.30 Kempton, Tuesday (Desert Orchid Chase)
L’HOMME PRESSE 2.30 Kempton, Monday (King George)
MIRANDA 12.45 Kempton, Monday (Long Walk Hurdle)
NOBLE YEATS 2.30 Kempton, Monday (King George)
PROTEKTORAT 2.30 Kempton, Monday (King George)
ROYAL PAGAILLE 2.30 Kempton, Monday (King George)
STATTLER 2.20 Leopardstown, Wednesday (Savills Chase)
LUCKY-7 ON THE NATIONAL STATS
⭕ 2.50 Chepstow, Tuesday (Welsh Grand National) STATS: AGE: As a group, ages 6, 7, 8, 9 have won 37 of the last 41. Anything of double-figure age is the exception that proves the rule; and they will all be another year older in a few days’ time!
WEIGHT: Similarly, 21 of the last 24 winners carried 11st or less.
TRAINERS: Paul Nicholls 2, Jonjo O’Neill 2, Team Tizzard 2, Nigel Twiston-Davies 2, Venetia Williams 2.
ASK ME EARLY (8-10-13, Harry Fry) Won 3-4 chases as a novice last year, including back to back at Chepstow on soft-heavy. Good run on return last month.
FANTASTIKAS (7-11-2, Nigel Twiston-Davies) full of promise last season, third in the Dipper and 7th in the Ultima at Cheltenham, but weakened at the last there (3m 3f) in November.
MOVETHECHAINS (8-10-3, Gary Moore) four in a row at a lower level, all on softish to heavy, all just short of 3m but very well bred for this.
MUSICAL SLAVE (9-10-10, Philip Hobbs) best winning form on good to soft, winning staying-chase series final at Haydock and Sandown Gold Cup runner-up to Hewick (3m 5f, good).
PUNITIVE (8-10-8, Gordon Elliott) unseated rider in the Troytown behind The Big Dog but marked improvement stepped up to 3m 5f on soft at Fairyhouse the last day.
QUICK WAVE (9-11-1, Venetia Williams) Not bred for it but always looked like she’d need a long trip, said Venetia Williams, stepping her up to the 3m 5f of the London National. Result: ‘went clear, easily.’
THE GALLOPING BEAR (9-11-1, Ben Clarke) hunter-chaser who might have won four in a row, still standing, but – after winning the Surrey National at Lingfield (3m 5f) – was disqualified for a banned substance following his defeat of Bristol De Mai in Haydock’s Grand National trial in February on heavy. Had a run back over hurdles last month.
THIS IS MUCH EASIER FOR HILLS
We’d raced for only an hour in England on Wednesday when we realised the ground was swallowing up the form horses: in that short time, we’d already had winners at 16-1 (twice) and 28-1 on the soft-heavy surfaces.
So the eye frantically scanned the two class-3 races on Thursday’s Ayr card and the three of that level at Ffos Las, looking for mud-lovers.
The goings were optimistically billed good-to-soft but with ‘showers’ forecast. By the time these two best races were run at Ayr, up to 30 animals would have churned up the ground.
⭕ 1.40 Ffos Las Bowtogreatness had twice won hurdle races in the mud, one of them here, but had been seen just the once over fences, beaten in a photo at Exeter because not fluent at the last.
I backed the winner, Black Gerry in his next race, but he jumped poorly, too, so thought it Lays Logic to oppose this favourite.
Complete Unknown deserved a few pounds more than Bowtogreatness, as winner of the EBF Final at Sandown.
His chasing debut was delayed to run in a stayers’ hurdle at Haydock, where he was hampered at the last when five lengths down.
Pentland Hills carried the flag for Nicky Henderson’s novice-chasers in the Grade-2 Arkle trial at Cheltenham last month but was a poor fourth. This is much less demanding.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 5.9 Pentland Hills
⭕ 2.00 Ayr Rae Des Champs and Faron lacked a love of mud in their CVs. If in doubt, it’s always wise to turn to an ex-Irish pointer when the ground is turning bad.
Gold Emery, a winner for Colin Bowe before moving to Donald McCain, is thought to have a bright future. BETDAQ 3.25.
FLIGHT PATH TO BEAT FABLE
⭕ 2.10 Ffos Las Venetia Williams landed me a winner on Wednesday with Flowing Cadenza at Hereford, where Fuji Flight had the first of back-to-back successes on the soft in the Spring.
The second strike was a good one. He won the Jacky Upton at Newbury (soft), beating the subsequent Scottish National third, Major Dundee.
We have to make some allowance in our staking plan for Fairlawn Flyer, who struggled on his return at Warwick last month, but could bounce back, as a Ffos Las hat-trick winner last winter at a lower level. First-time cheekpieces have to make a big impact.
Raise your glasses at – and to – The Edgar Wallace, eponym of one of my favourite wig-and-pen type pubs in the Temple, though he will have to improve no end to carry 12st 2lb.
They are still tinkering with Fable’s wind. A novice-hurdle winner only, pipped at Sandown in his first chase, run 25 seconds slow on a sound surface. Should do better over this 3m but all bar one of his opponents has won a race more recently.
BETDAQ value 6.8 Fuji Flight
SCOTTISH NATIONAL TARGET
⭕ 3.00 Ayr Cobolobo, who tried the Grand National fences last December – 8th in the Becher – ran his best race at Ascot, beaten a nose in January off a 3lb higher mark.
He pulled up in a veterans’ chase on his reappearance, and Tim Pat, who landed a hat-trick in the Spring, also has to bounce back after getting well behind at Bangor on his return late last month. More wind surgery and now in tongue-tie.
Ard Chros, making his reappearance, is another Spring hat-trick winner, starting here on heavy, but at shorter trips and at a lower level.
Return Fire could be a Scottish National horse. Related on the dam’s side to an Irish National winner, he has to leap a couple of grades here but remains low down the weights. BETDAQ 4.1
Stablemate Destiny Is All is currently 3-4, including a double here at Ayr in small fields up to 3m 3f. Lord Roco is unexposed.
Hitman Fred, who rose 20lb through the ranks last year, ran well until lack of fitness told, returning from a long break at Kelso earlier in the month. Stablemate Rath An Luir wears cheekpieces first time.
1.40 Ffos Las (win 20, nap)
BET 4pts win PENTLAND HILLS
2.00 Ayr (win 10)
BET 4pts win GOLD EMERY
2.10 Ffos Las (win 20)
BET 3.5pts win FUJI FLIGHT
3.00 Ayr (win 12)
BET 4pts win RETURN FIRE
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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.
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