DAQMAN’S BIG-RACE PREVIEWS Starting today until Thursday, Daqman checks out the two-year-old ‘classics’, Fillies Mile and Dewhurst, with his trio of Newmarket previews completed by an ABC stats guide to the Cesarewitch.

ANOTHER WINNING WEEKEND? That takes us to Friday and the start of the big weekend HQ meeting with Daqman on 88 naps for the year and leading Pricewise 54-28 in the value challenge for the Flat season.


EVEN BETTER. I gave Opera Singer 116 for her striking victory in the Marcel Boussac at the Arc meeting and said in this column that, with her fillies’ allowance, she could top the two-year-old colts.

Today she is officially raised to 118, which puts her on level terms with City of Troy and just a pound inferior to top boy, Henry Longfellow.

It turns Friday’s Fillies Mile into a procession if she runs; Opera Singer was already my choice: the filly who beat Brilliant six and half lengths at the Curragh in August was rated 107 to Brilliant’s 105.

In between, 106 for Ylang Ylang, and these three made up the Aidan O’Brien probables for the Mile at Newmarket.

Yet, despite the form then, the new figures now, and the firm ground currently declared for Newmarket, soft-ground Sandown scorer, Shuwari, is favourite, though recently beaten on firm in the Rockfel.

There were excuses – she’d been off for 64 days – but whichever is the Ballydoyle choice should not be facing a 13-8 favourite who brings such an excuse to the table.

Aidan O’Brien used to run his best in the race: Minding (2015) and Rhododendron (2016) both came to the Fillies Mile from win and place in the Moyglare.

This year’s Moyglare winner, Fallen Angel, had both Brilliant and Ylang Ylang beaten out of sight and has been raised to 116, where I thought Opera Singer should be.

The Moyglare excuses were for Ylang Ylang and she’s second favourite in the speculative books for the Mile.

Maybe the Ballydoyle ‘Lads’ don’t need the £283,550 first prize on Friday but Opera Singer is now the proverbial ‘good thing’ and, if she swerves the race, it could be reduced to a lower level posing as a Group 1.


⭕ 3.00 Punchestown Ireland might just have stolen a march on those that believe the jumps season ‘proper’ starts at Chepstow on Saturday.

This three runner hurdle at Punchestown is a pretty good quality early season contest pitching together the experienced Grade 1 performer Zanahiyr trained by Gordon Elliott against Run For Oscar and Andy Dufresne, stablemate of Zanahiyr.

Gordon Elliott is in reasonable early season form with seven winners over the past 14 days and whilst a warm favourite on Betdaq Betting Exchange, Zanahiyr is pretty hard to oppose in a race where conditions suit him.

Not only is this a good pipe-opener, it might also give him a renewed boost of confidence as his last win was back in 2021 – although his placed efforts haven’t been too shabby since. A three and a half length third to Constitution Hill in the Aintree Hurdle back in April reading particularly well!

There’s also no problem with the absence as he’s won twice before after being off the track for a while.

Run For Oscar ran a cracker in the Prix Du Cadran at Longchamp (won by Trueshan) last month so there should be no fitness worries but the issue is more mathematical. He’s rated a full stone inferior to Zanahiyr over the jumps and they meet on level terms today.

Andy Dufresne was a smart hurdler at the start of his career and highly touted too but sadly just seems to have lost his way over fences so it’s no surprise to see him back over the smaller obstacles. It’s more off a surprise that it hasn’t happened earlier and it’s very hard to judge his current mindset.


⭕ 7.30 Southwell Mehmo has twice won over course and distance (last time in January off 52) and has generally continued to run well since. He’s 2lb higher now in the weights but will take some beating back at the track he clearly enjoys.

Canaria Prince finished behind Mehmo on his only previous all-weather start and is now on a long run without a win and the biggest danger may come from Mucky Mulconry who is lightly raced on the all-weather and trying Southwell for the first time.


⭕ 8.00 Southwell My instinct here was that Starstriker looked far too short. Trained by James Ferguson (1 win from last 20) and ridden by Oisin Murphy her prominence on that alone is probably understandable but she has been a beaten favourite in two off her career races and her odds-on third at Lingfield last time out looked modest form for the filly who started her career with Wesley Ward in the States.

Profitable Edge’s form is solid if not spectacular. As ever, I’m guided by the prices and prefer her chances as a class dropper.


3.00 Punchestown (win 10, nap)
BET 12.5pts win ZANAHIYR

7.30 Southwell (win 10)
BET 4pts win MEHMO

8.00 Southwell (win 10)

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