GRAND NATIONAL WEIGHTS OUT TODAY: Only 31 British horses are entered for the Grand National and the top 15 as they stand in the ratings are 86% Irish. How many home hopes will actually get into the field of 40? Handicapping of the race is always controversial: the weights are revealed today, with Daqman’s verdict tomorrow.

TODAY: Daqman finds bets at all three venues. His nap runs at Southwell in the 7.00.


IRISH: LUCKY 13 OF THE TOP 15

⭕ 5.15 GRAND NATIONAL Chase, 4m 2f 74 yards, Aintree, April 15

Weight for it! The Grand National handicap is published today, never knowingly short of a headline before and after the ‘world’s greatest chase’.

Two years of controversy over Tiger Roll’s weight; now the shock of a meagre British defence of the £500,000-to-the-winner prize.

The Irish not only have the large share of the potential runners (54 of the 85) but hold such sway for quality at the top of the ratings that, in effect, they depress the weights and give their medium and lesser hopes a better chance!

168 Conflated (Gordon Elliott) Irish
167 Hewick (John Joseph Hanlon) Irish
167 Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins) Irish
165 Galvin (Gordon Elliott) Irish
163 Royal Pagaille (Venetia Williams) top rated of the British entries
161 Fury Road (Gordon Elliott) Irish
160 Any Second Now (Ted Walsh) Irish
160 Capodanno (Willie Mullins) Irish
158 The Big Dog (Peter Fahey) Irish
157 Franco De Port (Willie Mullins) Irish
155 Carefully Selected (Willie Mullins) Irish
155 Delta Work (Gordon Elliott) Irish
155 Gaillard Du Mesnil (Willie Mullins) Irish
155 Iwilldoit (Sam Thomas): second top of the British entries
155 Lifetime Ambition (Jessica Harrington) Irish

These are the ratings as they stand for the 15 reckoned to have earned a figure of 155 and over. How will they fare at the weights unveiling today?

Some among them will be given some leniency but others may get a ‘National weight’ related to previous performance.

Watch out for that in the handicapper’s revised view of last year’s 1-2-3, Noble Yeats, Any Second Now and Delta Work.

Others to finish that day were Longhouse Poet (6th), Coko Beach (8th) and Escaria Ten (9th), all six of them Irish, all back for another try.

Minella Times (hampered and brought down) had won the race in 2021. He’s also back. He’s also Irish.

Of the top 15 above, 86% are Irish on merit and it seems likely that very few British will line up in the final 40.


FORECAST WIND AND LIGHTNING

⭕ 2:15 Market Rasen Windtothelightning is preferred to her more experienced rivals in this mares’ handicap hurdle over 2m 4f. The Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero trained runner created a really nice impression when bolting home at Sedgefield last time out over this trip, confirming the promise she showed on debut at Doncaster.

It’s interesting to note that the horse she beat by 12 lengths into second at Sedgefield came out to win well herself next time out at Musselburgh.

The quandary is the starting handicap mark of 110. The handicapper hasn’t had much to work with but it can surely be taken as read that Windtothelightning is still very much on the upgrade?

Chief rival on Betdaq Betting Exchange is the Dan Skelton trained Notnowlinda who is also making her handicap debut. She’s won twice over hurdles but on both occasions by narrow margins in moderate races. I just get the feeling she has reached her level and in many ways her debut effort at Cheltenham last year when third in a Listed Cheltenham bumper remains her best performance.

Phillapa Sue (Fergal O’Brien) and Presenting A Queen (Chris Gordon) both represent stables that are bang in form particularly Gordon who is now 7 winners from his last 17 runners. Both their runners come into the reckoning but I have slight going question marks around Phillapa Sue who is unproven on good.

Presenting A Queen is probably the biggest danger. Another handicap debutant, she has proven good ground form and the trip should be ideal.


THE DANCING QUEEN

⭕ 4.30 Taunton I’m sticking with the mares, this time at Taunton for their three mile handicap hurdle.

The ten-year-old Coillte Eile has to be the starting point after her emphatic Lingfield success last week for which she picks up a 7lb penalty.

The concern though has to be the ground. Her recent efforts on good or quicker ground have been: 8/8 at Ascot, 9/11 at Plumpton and 6/13 at Hereford.

Preference has to be for the Paul Nicholls trained Dancingontheedge who was a good ground bumper winner on debut and looks certain to be suited by the step up in trip and also gets 2lb relief from the handicapper.


ELVENIA THE CLASS ACT

⭕ 7.00 Southwell This class 4 novice event the most interesting race of the night.

Elevenia is without doubt the class act and the early market signs were positive ahead of her first race for 249 days and racing under a penalty.

A debut winner at Newcastle, she was thrown into the deep end on her second start in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. Whilst only seventh to Meditate, she was only beaten four and a half lengths which was a solid effort and better than her 50/1 price tag might have suggested.

Kevin Ryan has his string in good form and Elvenia probably doesn’t even need to be 100% to land this.

The Gosden trained Medici Chapel has been beaten in her last three starts at the lower class 5 level whilst Class Member stayed on nicely on debut at Wolverhampton over seven furlongs but it is a big surprise to see this one dropped back in trip.

DAQMAN’S BETS:

2.15 Market Rasen (win 10)
BET 4pts win WINDTOTHELIGHTNING

4.30 Taunton (win 10)
BET 5pts win DANCINGONTHEEDGE

7.00 Southwell (win 10, nap)
BET 8.3pts win ELVENIA


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