DAQMAN LANDS BULL’S-EYE NAP ON THE CHAMPION HURDLE WINNER: Daqman made a first-day Cheltenham profit of 75.05 on all individual bets in his own personal league table yesterday, when Fortune Cookies landed the big double of Champion Hurdle and Mares Hurdle. Daqman hammered home his faith in Epatante for the Champion with a bull’s-eye nap, taking 60 points out of the race when his place danger, Darver Star, was third. He is now 556 points clear of Pricewise, with a 37-17 lead.

WON 2-1 EPATANTE (Champion Hurdle bull’s-eye nap, Fortune Cookie)
(3RD 17-2 DARVER STAR place return in the same race)
WON 9-4 HONEYSUCKLE (Mares Hurdle Fortune Cookie)
2ND 11-4 ABACADABRAS (place return in the Supreme Novice Hurdle)

📈 Daqman 37, Pricewise 17 (+495.15 to -61.00) 10pt stakes at SP
📈 Bull’s-eye bets: 45% (+371.10 from 19-43) staked to win 50
📈 Bulls-eye naps 2020: 33% (+31.00 from 1-3) (2019: 47% +249 from 8-17)
📈 All Daily Naps 45% (+114.57 from 52-116) 10pt stakes at SP
📈 Supernaps 51% (+20.02 from 14-27) 20pt stakes at SP
📈 Fortune Cookies 46% (+57.12 from 6-13) 20pt stakes at SP

TRUST TIGER TO MAKE IT A CROSS-COUNTRY HAT-TRICK ON DAY 2: Only Enable has won more races for the Fortune Cookies than Tiger Roll but a National, an NH Chase and two cross-country titles can’t be bad. He goes for the hat-trick today, one of two supernap-strength bets. There are 27.0 and 30.0 targets on the rest of the card. Headlines:



⭕ 1.30 Cheltenham (Ballymore Novices Hurdle)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
FORTUNE COOKIES: Easywork, Envoi Allen
RATINGS: Envoi Allen 156, Sporting John 149, Easywork 147
TRAINER: The Big Getaway

FORM: Tuesday’s column followed a pool of collateral form, which produced in one day Honeysuckle (WON 9-4), Abacadabras (2nd 11-4) and Darver Star (3rd 17-2), all three involved in big-race finishes, including the Champion Hurdle.

Focal point of the group, as I said then, was Envoi Allen, who is unbeaten in seven races. If they had let him down yesterday, he would lose his reputation for today. If anything, it was enhanced.

Envoi Allen has won three in a row this year, with the Royal Bond key to the collateral form, and his main danger, Sporting John, has to find 7lb. He’s a future chasing star.

Colin Tizzard (The Big Breakaway) had a poor day yesterday. Not to be confused with The Big Getaway, who has won only a maiden for Willie Mullins. Fortune Cookies also retained Easywork, who will appreciate the return to today’s trip.

VERDICT: Envoi Allen supernap.


⭕ 2.10 Cheltenham (RSA Novices’ Chase)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
FORTUNE COOKIE: Battleoverdoyen
RATINGS: Copperhead 155, Slate House 155, Battleoverdoyen 153, Easy Game 154, Champ 153, Allaho 152.
TRAINER: Champ, Pym

FORM: Black Op has been runner-up to both Champ and Slate House, revealing not a lot between them. I’ve never liked Champ’s style and he has failed twice at Cheltenham.

Battleoverdoyen landed an odds-on hat-trick in the autumn but was a tame fourth behind Faugheen and Easy Game at Leopardstown last month.

I’ve stayed with Battleoverdoyen in the Fortune Cookies list, which is now in line for a big-odds winner if you can forgive that run.

But it’s a tough race, with seven horses rated within the narrow parameters of 152 to 155, though Copperhead may deserve more after slamming hat-trick horse, Two For Gold 17 lengths at Ascot. He needs to to put the lie to the stable form.

Minella Indo, who won the Albert Bartlett last year and then beat Allaho at the Punchestown festival, is short on chasing experience (rated 147), and Allaho has overtaken him.

Pym beat yesterday’s winner, Imperial Aura, eight lengths over the old course at around this trip in December but, like Champ (fell) and Slate House (pulled up), let the side down badly on the last day.

VERDICT: While there are doubts about those just behind him in the ratings, six-year-old Copperhead (BETDAQ 6.0) keeps improving and is the one for the money over stablemate Slate House. At Newbury, Harry Cobden looked round cheekily and sauntered to the last but, most impressive of all, he then gave his mount a tap and he quickened again on the run-in.


⭕ 2.50 Cheltenham (Coral Cup)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
TRAINER: Black Tears, Birchdale, Burrows Edge, Coko Beach, Cracking Smart, Dame De Compagnie.

FORM: Dame De Compagnie won over the new course’s slightly shorter version of this trip in December (runner-up has won since).

Alfa Mix, bought up by J P McManus, has been the gamble in the lead-up to the race (check out Gavin Cromwell’s column for further encouragement). Badly off now with Top Moon, who is back at his best trip, but that one looks exposed while Alfa Mix is the improver. A tasty 17.0 in the BETDAQ orange this morning.

Protektorat (BETDAQ 19.0) has run four times over hurdles at Cheltenham, twice in Graded races, and the one that beat him on the last day, Harry Senior, is being backed for the Albert Bartlett on Friday.

Another top Albert Bartlett contender, Thyme Hill, might have been run down by Champagne Well last time that one raced at today’s trip, which was over CD in November, but Champagne Well stumbled and lost a couple of places two out.

Stormy Ireland’s run yesterday didn’t do a lot for Franco de Port’s reputation, but it’s all systems go for Thosedaysaregone (20.0).

Though hiked 13lb for winning the Ladbrokes Hurdle at Leopardstown, he just sneaked into the handicap that day and could now land a £100,000 bonus.

VERDICT: The handicapper has kindly kept Alfa Mix on the same rating as he is in Ireland. He may not yet have a hold on Thosedaysaregone. Protektorat knows the place well.


⭕ 3.30 Cheltenham (Champion Chase)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
KEY RACES: Defi Du Seil, Bun Doran
RATINGS: Chacun Pour Soi, 171, Defi Du Seuil 170
TRAINER: with Altior absent, Paul Nicholls moves to the top of the leaderboard (five winners in 20 years): Politologue, Dynamite Dollars

FORM TRENDS: Because Chacun Pour Soi (‘every man for himself’) has won only three chases (88% had won five) and never yet seen Cheltenham, he fails on two of three counts.

He passes the third qualification as a Grade-1 winner: when a novice, beating Defi Du Seuil in the Punchestown Ryanair, and last month dismissing Min in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase. All three qualifications are held by:

170 DEFI DU SEUIL Won the Golden Miller at the festival last year and has scored a hat-trick since the Punchestown defeat, including the Tingle Creek and Clarence House, all on soft-heavy ground.

165 POLITOLOGUE Second to Altior in this a year ago (1.75 lengths), closing the winner down dramatically on his 23-lengths defeat of the previous year. But Defi Du Seuil ran him down over the Cheltenham CD in November and he was a long way behind the same horse in the Tingle Creek. Best when fresh but that means he will want to lead.

163 SCEAU ROYAL Beaten four times in a row by Altior, including in this last year. Went down a similar amount to Bun Doran (Game Spirit Chase), but in amongst those was 22 lengths off Defi Du Seuil in the Tingle Creek

ALSO: 171 Chacun Pour Soi; 160 Dynamite Dollars, most winning form is good, good to soft; receiving weight when a neck off Sceau Royal in the Game Spirit; 160 Bun Doran won the Desert Orchid Chase but fell in the Game Spirit and strike rate poor for this level (3-16 chases).

VERDICT: Chacun Pour Soi is an improver but inexperienced for this race against CD winner Defi Du Seuil, who is a year younger. It doesn’t mean he won’t win; it does mean he is short odds for such a CV and you’re betting on reputation.


⭕ 4.10 Cheltenham (Cross-Country)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
KEY RACES: Easysland, Neverushacon, Tiger Roll
RATINGS: Tiger Roll 171, Might Bite 158, Easysland 152
TRAINER: Josies Orders, Out Sam, Tiger Roll, Yanworth

FORM: RSA winner and Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite just might take to the banks and equestrian fences but I won’t bite when I have a giant of the cross-country game and an unbeaten young pretender four years his junior.

Tiger Roll (pictured) is the ultimate racehorse with the speed to win a Graded hurdle (the Galmoy) and the constitution and stamina to take back-to-back Grand Nationals.

And this has all happened since he became the festival’s cross-country champion in 2018, again repeating the feat last year.

An iron horse like Red Rum but lucky to be born in easier times for marathon running. ‘Easy’ is not the word you’d use to dismiss Easysland.

Like Tiger Roll, he’s not a big horse but big on talent at the cross-country discipline, winning five in France and taking one at Cheltenham in December with Out Sam third, a long way ahead of Neverushacon, who later won over the Punchestown banks (Yanworth third, Josies Orders fourth).

VERDICT: Tiger Roll owes me nothing after winning this column an NH Chase, two cross-country titles and a Grand National (see Daqman Library). He might have trouble landing a three-timer at Aintree but is unlikely to miss out on a hat-trick here, currently 19lb clear of the young pretender, Easysland.


⭕ 4.50 Cheltenham (Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
TRAINER: Aramax, Geolach, Mick Pastor, Recent Revelations, Saint D’Oroux, Thyme White, Tronador,

FORM AND BETDAQ VALUE: A pinstickers’ race with not much to go on, but it has paid in the past to stick the pin in one trained Gordon Elliott or Paul Nicholls (50% of the winners between them in the decade).

Aramax (Elliott) is the form horse but has not yet won in deep ground. For something that’s strong in the mud, try 8.0 BETDAQ offer Palladium (Nicky Henderson).

Can he will live up to his name? Palladium is said to be ‘more precious than gold’, and the white metal has recently soared on the commodities market to around £2,000 an ounce. If I win in one market, I’ll invest in the other!

Blacko (7.5) beat Zoffee, The Pink’n and Night Edition at Taunton, and all have been comfortable winners since. Theatre Of War (30.0) has improved at home and is ahead of his December form, when just touched off in a big field.


⭕ 5.30 Cheltenham (Champion Bumper)

REPRISE: See How They Won (Archive: February 25, 26, 27, 28). Stats (Archive: March 3, 4, 5, 6)
TRAINER: Appreciate It, Darling Daughter, Eskylane, Five Bar Brian, Ferny Hollow, Queens Brook,
RATINGS: Appreciate It 131, Israel Champ 130,

FORM AND VERDICT: Another pinstickers’ race, with a better chance if your pin is guided to a runner for Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins, including their outsiders.

Adrimel is a strong whisper, despite 27.0 BETDAQ offers, and we hope Richard Johnson is fit enough for the ride.

Queens Brook (BETDAQ 9.0) was sold for £160,000 after winning her Point. Then she won a bumper 21 lengths. So don’t ignore the last: Appreciate It!


1.30 Cheltenham (supernap)

2.10 Cheltenham (win-50 bull’s-eye bet)

2.50 Cheltenham (win-50 bull’s-eye bets)
BET 2.5Pts win ALFA MIX

3.30 Cheltenham (win 10)

4.10 Cheltenham (supernap)
BET 20pts win TIGER ROLL

4.50 Cheltenham (win-50 bull’s-eye bets, place 10)
BET 7.5pts win BLACKO
BET 1.5pts win and 2pts place THEATRE OF WAR

5.30 Cheltenham (win 30, place 10)
BET 4.25pts win QUEENS BROOK
BET 1.25pts win and place 1.75pts place ADRIMEL

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