GOLD START TO BIG CHESTER MEETING: That’s Smuggler’s Gold in the opener, but Daqman is also referring to the value of the BETDAQ markets in every race on the Roodeye, including the Chester Cup. Get stuck into the orange: it’s punter friendly all day.

BUCKLAND THE IMPROVER IN THE CUP: So which horse is the improver in the Cup? Daqman nominates Buckland, at 13.5 on BETDAQ this morning, but he reckons Olympiad (also 13.5) could also go better now that he’s been gelded.

As well as the other horses, your bet could be beaten by the draw today. Yes, we’re racing round the frying-pan at Chester and it’s so easy to follow the spin and land straight in the fire.

But the great good news for punters is that I declare every race at Chester today a value race, according to my manifesto. I do that only when the offers in the orange are below 110% on BETDAQ. They were this morning. Every time.

1.45 Chester (Lily Agnes Stakes) Not one horse has been successful in a stall higher than five in the decade; winners by draw: 1, 1, 1, 5, 3, 2, 5, 5, 2, 4.

A big field and firm ground today suggests that whatever gets the early break will be in at the finish: Smugglers Gold has done some good times and, if Outback Lover jumps off as she did at Wolver, she will be hard to beat, though trainer Stan Moore is 0-27 on turf in 2013 and she’s not wanted this morning at 34.0.

Lilo Lil is also a front-runner and she can probably get across from stall 5 but her stable, too, is out of form: just one success from 41 tries this year.

Lil is easy to back at 14.5, whereas yet another pace filly, Quatuor, is favourite though, with a 108% list of offers in the orange, you are in a punter-friendly zone.

Blithe Spirit is out of Damalis, who was a standing dish at Chester but, from the 9 stall, she will have to get across alongside Quatuor (racing from 8).

Racing Post racereaders of M’selle’s efforts can’t agree: one marked her down for this very race; another says to hold off until she tries 6f.

Though fillies are on a hat-trick in this, I’ll go for Smuggler’s Gold with Tom Queally, who rode the gelding at Lingfield, keeping the partnership intact.

2.15 Chester (Cheshire Oaks) Light Shift (2007) went on from this to win the Oaks at Epsom, and last year’s winner was runner-up there.

It was an open market in a 104% list in the orange, with Reyaadah and Banoffee the two not wanted in the betting.

The trend in the race is for late developers (9 out of 10 were maidens at the start of their second season).

Gertrude Versed, Premium and Keeping were all without a win in January; all came good on AW; Gertrude Versed beat ‘nothing’ and Keeping looks the one on breeding, has a good draw here and the form of her win was solid.

Premium, from a stable that does well with fillies and at Chester, is also interesting on breeding and I shall oppose last year’s soft-heavy-ground form (Salhooda) and dutch Premium (6.4) and Keeping (8.0). Nice offers, guys.

2.45 Chester Cup Overturn was the ideal horse for this and Don McCain made it a double last year via Ile De Re but both carried less than 9st, as did 8 of the last 10.

However, Ile De Re, who is not going dependent, has since won the Northumberland Plate off 101 on heavy ground so no reason why he should not go close again today, clearly saved up for the race.

The worry is that he was a lonely dog on a raft this morning, drifting right over the betting weir to a huge 30.0, and I’m already full up with outsiders.

The stats and the conditions suggest we concentrate on horses that like the firm ground – a dry day is forecast – that are rated in the right parameter (90-99 is 8 out of 10) and favourably drawn (stalls 1-5 are 6 out of 10).

Though a CD winner, Champion Hurdle third Countrywide Flame has been beaten in all starts on firmish ground (320) and favourites have a very bad record, having won only four times since 1974: on today’s surface, maybe it’s the day for Tominator, who was third when Countrywide Flame was second in the Cesarewitch.

However, Tominator is up another 2lb and I don’t think he’s a 10lb better horse on the Flat than when he won the 2011 Northumberland Plate off 90.

There was something amiss with Olympiad in that Cesarewitch, when second favourite at 8-1, coming into it after a win at York over 2m on firm.

He goes with the pace and will be trying to get across early from stall 17. Won on his reappearance last year and very lightly raced for his age, like Justification.

This time the worry is that Olympiad has been gelded since the Cesarewitch, as if trainer Dermot Weld is saying that defeat there was no off-day but an example of his temperament problem. Maybe losing the reason(s) for it will concentrate ‘his’ mind!

Justification’s dam has already produced an Ascot Gold Cup winner and, though he’s clearly been hard to keep right, with only five runs on the CV, he has the potential if he acts on the ground (all form on soft and Polytrack).

Buckland’s form is mainly on a man-made surface but he has shown a stone of improvement and was not disgraced tried on turf in a Group 3 at the start of the month.

Address Unknown, unplaced in this last year and having his first run for Richard Fahey, is an Ascot winner at this trip and in this grade on firm ground: he’s needed a run in previous seasons but has had plenty of work and is going well at home.

Investissement, a winner at Goodwood firm, was third in the 2011 Ebor off 99. He’s ‘chucked in’ – claimed off so racing on 92 today – but, as with Address Unknown, the question mark is his fitness after a lay-off.

The offers in the BETDAQ orange last night were hovering around the 110% mark for a race which has had 121, 122, 124 and even 127% Total SP in the last five years.

So I had no regrets about taking a pop at the well-drawn horses, until I saw the 103% in the orange this morning, with the pair I chose both bigger! Yes, only 3% overround, compared with a likely bookmaker take-out almost certain to be nearer 23%.

VERDICT: I can find no Justification for a jackpot bet! It’s a very open race. Stats and market both declare for Countrywide Flame and Justification, and the betting otherwise snubs all bar Tominator, Olympiad and Buckland.

If in doubt, go for the improver, and that has to be Buckland (13.5 on BETDAQ). Olympiad has a bit to find but has lost the bits he didn’t need (also 13.5 as I write).

3.15 Chester Results by draw in the last decade: 2, 7, 3, 4, 7, 6, 2, 6, 4, 1. Gatepost goes best when fresh, has been lucky to get stall 4, and the in-form Jamie Spencer is booked. Yet another value race on Betdaq, with 104% list in the orange.

3.50 Chester The top yards love this race: don’t know why -maybe it’s the £7,700 to the winner (ok, maybe not) – but it’s currently Gosden 4, Stoute 3, which includes the stunning improver Harbinger (2009) who went from 96 to 135 for Sir Michael Stoute after this race.

In fact, the winner will be known in advance for its potential quality, since seven of the last eight favourites have won. Stoute has not let me down this season and Russian Realm has been working extremely well and is clear favourite, as I write.

5.00 Chester For some reason, you’ll hear the pundits cry ‘St Leger’ after this class-3 handicap. What? Don’t ask.

Santando was only sixth at Doncaster after winning this (2003), but the pundits went close with Brown Panther (second at Doncaster in 2011),

I got caught up in this ‘Leger key’ nonsense last year and followed Rosslyn Castle all season with Doncaster in mind; he did absolutely nothing after Chester!

On breeding, King Muro would be the one to get a trip. He’s done nowt wrong, and I liked the way he won at Kempton, leading them along, being eased, and then coming back to regain control in the last 100 yards. A good education.

VALUE BET 6pts win SMUGGLERS GOLD (1.45 Chester)
GOLD VALUE: 5.5pts win PREMIUM and 4.2pts win KEEPING (2.15 Chester)
VALUE BET 2.4pts win on each BUCKLAND and OLYMPIAD; also ANTE-POST (eve-of-the-race market) to win 20 points 1.1pts win on each ADDRESS UNKNOWN and INVESTISSEMENT (2.45 Chester Cup)
VALUE BET: 5.3pts win GATEPOST (3.15 Chester)
VALUE BET: 16pts win (nap) RUSSIAN REALM (3.50 Chester)
VALUE BET: 3.5pts win KING MURO (5.00 Chester)

DAQMAN’S TARGETS: An above-average day, so stakes are raised to win 30 points on each bet, but the draw is a spanner in the works, so no jackpot bets, although those races marked for value were from lists of BETDAQ offers totalling below 110% this morning. I declare the 2.15 the Gold Value race because I am opposing the favourite, so odds in the rest of the market are deemed doubly advantageous.

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