BETDAQ GOLD VALUE ON CUP DAY: Daqman analysed the third day cards at Royal Ascot at 7.30 this morning and found offers in the BETDAQ orange which added up to 101, 105, 104, 107, 104 and 105%, compared with the SP Totals per race last year of 115, 117, 117, 136, 113 and 134%.
NEVER SAY NEVER: Daqman warns to expect a ‘blaster’ in the opening race from American speed horse No Nay Never. But can he last home?
‘ALIVE’ A LIVE NAP: With doubts about the John Gosden form (Winsili), he naps Alive Alive Oh in the Ribblesdale for yet another Irish winner.
DUNTLE WON BUT DAQMAN’S DISGRUNTLED: Daqman had another winner at the royal meeting yesterday with Duntle (WON 100-30) following Declaration of War (WON 15-2) and clever staking again kept losses down. But he won’t be a happy bunny until he’s cracked one of the big races.
Are you so wanting to back James Doyle today? After his 891-1 treble on Day 2 of Ascot, yer man (he’s actually from Cambridge) stopped the run by Irish riders after they had scooped eight in a row at the royal meeting.
Trainers still doubtful about the jockey find of the season, who was so down he booked himself onto a plumbers’ course three years ago, will kick themselves with an overreach of their riding boots as they make him wait three races without a mount until the Britannia today. What a waste!
So Beloved for Roger ‘Al Kazeem’ Charlton is the Britannia mount – 21.0 on BETDAQ this morning but 16-1 with bookmakers – which finally has Doyle out of the stands and back into the saddle, bidding for a four-timer. Let’s check out the day.
2.30 Royal Ascot (Norfolk Stakes) The draw bias suddenly switched yesterday with the far side dominating: stalls 4, 1 and 6 won earlier in the day before the Queen Mary went to Rizeena in 16 but she raced in the centre and came home from 1, 6 and 4 after a blistering pace from US raider Sweet Emma Rose on the far rail.
The answer to the draw is, as ever, to first find the shape of the race from the potential pacesetters. The field is unlikely to split in this one but we have another fast-out-of-the-gate American in No Nay Never in 8 from the same yard as Sweet Emma Rose.
Never say never, but they do tend to fade at the business end like quarter-horses, and this 4.5f winner is a typical blaster.
But every home runner in the race has scored in slower-than-average time, except Coulsty, though his win was at lowly Leicester.
However, that hasn’t stopped the Racing Post handicapper putting him in second only to Coach House in their ratings.
Green Door’s trainer, Olly Stevens, has already won a Royal Ascot two-year-old test, the Windsor Castle, this week. Richard Fahey thinks there’s nothing much between Eccleston and Coventry runner-up Parbold.
VERDICT: Can they catch the yank? With the ground now turned good to firm, maybe not. I backed No Nay Never at 6.8 the win, intending to have my curser poised on the lay button towards the business end of the race? I may need to be faster than he is!
This is not a Ballydoyle race (one win in 2001), and Coulsty (7.6) and Eccleston (10.5) have both had their form franked by wins for horses they beat, so I’m opposing the favourite.
Unfortunately, if rain got into the ground, the entire picture would change. It would be against No Nay Never and in Coach House’s favour. So it remains tough from where I’m sitting at this time.
3.05 Royal Ascot (Ribblesdale Stakes) We have watched late-developing animals overtake the early Group and trial winners. Well, this is the race in which improver fillies come into their own.
I would strike out the three exposed sorts – Cocktail Queen, Gertrude Versed and Just Pretending – and, over my cornflakes, I have no choice but to delete soft-ground lover, The Lark. Surely the rain won’t come in such quantity.
The Oaks (The Lark) and the Irish 1,000 Guineas (Just Pretending) have bad records in this. Winsili won a Listed race at Newbury that has produced two Oaks winners but John Gosden is having a poor season, and the stable is not striking right now with one maiden win from 20 runners in 10 days.
Fersah has a lot to find, and Sir Michael Stoute’s pair Waila (holds Riposte) and Elik (‘only each way’ says Ryan Moore) are easy to back at double-figure offers this morning.
Alive Alive Oh has looked good. Her form has been boosted at Group-3 level. All her entries are Group 1. And, we are assured, she acts on all surfaces.
VERDICT: I’m going all in on Alive Alive Oh, barring a stakes saver on Winsili. She could just be Gosden’s flagbearer and the way my luck has been this week, the one I oppose comes good beyond reason.
If the rain gets into the ground, it brings The Lark back into it but doesn’t damage Alive Alive Oh. That’s my thinking.
3.45 Royal Ascot (Ascot Gold Cup) Minimum rating for winning this in the 21st century has been 115 (122 the highest) so, with 11 horses on between 112 and 116 today, it seems we have a very open, not-very-high-standard year (7.6 the field on BETDAQ as I write).
That always suggests looking for a young horse to emerge and prove the ratings wrong. Which one has fewest negatives?
Simenon stays extreme distances but at his own pace and has won only handicaps, albeit the Ascot Stakes among them. His form in Group/Graded races is 0324003000, including hurdles.
Rite Of Passage is now nine, and only sequence horses Drum Taps (1993) and Yeats (2008-9) have scored over the age of six since 1929. So that’s also a black mark against Altano, Times Up and Aaim To Prosper.
Firm ground will particularly militate against older horses, who tend to need some cut as the old joints begin to creak (tell me about it!). But, then, it could rain… (here we go again).
Only last year’s scorer, Colour Vision, remains of several Godolphin entries but the first-time visor suggests that his failure to win since then has them worried.
I went for Last Train ante-post at 21.0. He is a close relative of Frankel but was confirming his ability as a stayer at the highest level after running second to Imperial Monarch in last year’s Grand Prix De Paris.
What made me think that Last Train – largely restricted to soft ground in France – is being underestimated (still 17.5 this morning but only 12-1 with shrewdies Ladbrokes) is that his sire, Rail Link, had a massive record on firmish ground.
He failed to produce any winners on heavy, 8% on soft but a high 24% success rate from 46 runners on good to firm.
Last Train, who has had only eight races in his life, missing the frame only once, has to step up in trip here but where else is there a touch of class among the younger horses?
Nothing else of note has been dropped by Earl Of Tinsdal’s dam and his sire’s only other standout is Daveron, a 9f horse.
High Jinx (carries head awkwardly) seems to be a ‘bridesmaid’ – four seconds in a row – whereas Estimate, whose half-brother Enzeli won the Gold Cup, really delivered in the Sagaro Stakes in the Spring, his second Ascot win in a career of only six races.
VERDICT: My pick of the potential from young horses likely to take over in this in-between year for Gold Cup champions are Estimate and Last Train.
4.25 Royal Ascot (Britannia Handicap) Mid-handicap is the place to find the winners of this, rated in the low 90s, like Wentworth.
Wentworth’s two-year-old successes are both regarded as just below the level of the likes of Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy: they were the Convivial Stakes at York and the Haynes, Hanson and Clark at Newbury.
His second-season launch in a sprint showed only that he had trained don, and that he was soon to strike in a quality race over a longer trip.
This one looks perfect for him on the fast ground that he’ll appreciate, and Richard Hughes prefers him to Jalaa and Sea Shanty.
Maputo is twice a winner over 10 furlongs recently but his stablemate Shebebi looks set to ensure a strong pace among the low numbers and Maputo is Mark Johnston’s only entry in the Group-1 Sussex Stakes.
Since Llaregyb is a son of Dylan Thomas, his owners had every right to call him by the rather non-poetic reverse-word (not really in the same league as Your A Nation). And, as a class-4 winner at best, Llaregyb is probably not in the same league as this class-2 field.
Cape Peron won like the proverbial Group horse in a handicap at Doncaster: the worry is that the occasion will get to him; he has been unruly in the stalls.
VERDICT: It’s hard to get away from Wentworth and Maputo with So Beloved (21.0 on BETDAQ) the outsider under James Doyle
5.00 Royal Ascot (Tercentary Stakes) Van Der Neer (13.0) was lazy at The Curragh and extra trip will help. Fourth in the London Gold Cup, Kitten On the Run (26.0) is the dark horse of the race for shrewdie Luca Cumani and Kieren Fallon.
DAQMAN’S BETS (All Gold Value races. All bets to win 30 points, except stakes savers which are backed to cover the main bet in the race)
BET 5pts win NO NAY NEVER, 4.5pts win COULSTY and 3pts win ECCLESTON (2.30 Royal Ascot)
BET 11.5pts win (nap) ALIVE ALIVE OH and 2pts win (stakes saver) WINSILI (3.05 Royal Ascot).
BET 4.2pts win ESTIMATE, and already ante-post 1.5pts win LAST TRAIN at 21.0 (3.45 Royal Ascot)
BET 7pts win WENTWORTH, 2.5pts win MAPUTO and 1.5pts win SO BELOVED (4.25 Royal Ascot)
BET 2.5pts win VAN DER NEER, and 1.2pts win and place KITTEN ON THE RUN (5.00 Royal Ascot)
HORSES TO FOLLOW (10pts win THE LARK (3.05 Royal Ascot)
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