4-1 WINNING NAP: IT’S A PLEASURE: After Definitive Force started slowly and blew his value-booster bet yesterday, Daqman was resigned to putting his king-of-the-tipsters crown back in its box for the day but his nap, Royal Pleasure, proved as hot a plot as he’d hoped for master-trainer Sir Mark Prescott. That’s five best bets up out of the last eight.
WON 4-1 ROYAL PLEASURE (nap)
CAN ANYTHING BEAT THE FAVOURITE? After yesterday’s guide to the Irish Gold Cup, here’s Daqman’s Irish Champion Hurdle form in focus.
⭕ 3.00 Leopardstown, Sunday (Irish Champion Hurdle) STATS: With one exception only previous winners have won this aged 9 or over since 2003. Trainers: Wilie Mullins 6, Henry De Bromhead 4, Gordon Elliott 1. Probables in ratings order:
165 HONEYSUCKLE On a hat-trick mission in this for Henry de Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore. Still only 8 and unbeaten in 13 hurdle races, including nine at Grade-1 level.
Completed treble in 2021 of Irish Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
160 APPRECIATE IT Lightly raced, though the same age as Honeysuckle. Unbeaten in four starts over hurdles, the last three all Grade 1.
Future Champions Novice Hurdle winner at Punchestown in 2020, he won at this Leopardstown meeting last year before adding more than 20 lengths to his domination over the second horse home when they met again in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.
159 ZANAHIYR Improving every start. Three-lengths runner-up to Sharjah in the Morgiana in November but narrowed the gap between them to a neck here at Leopardstown between Christmas and the New Year.
Sharjah, from the same stable as Appreciate It, was well behind Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle last year but narrowed the gap in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle to only a couple of lengths despite giving the winner 7lb.
155 SAINT ROI County Hurdle winner at Cheltenham in 2020 but in rear behind Honeysuckle in this Irish championship at Leopardstown last year and five lengths and more off Sharjah at Leopardstown the last day when Zanahiyr was the neck second.
143 ECHOES IN RAIN Third Willie Mullins runner, a stone and more off the principals, won the Punchestown Champion Novice in April but has been 15 lengths behind Sharjah on her last two starts. Likely pace-setter.
140 HEAVEN HELP US Like Echoes In The Rain, gets 7lb mares’ allowance. Best form over further when winning the Mares Handicap here last year (2m 2f) and the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March (2m 5f). Narrowly beaten here the last day but that was a Grade 3 for mares only.
⭕ 1.55 Chepstow today Kyntara threw away the chance of breaking his maiden at Warwick with jumping errors.
Still finished a close second, giving weight to the winner (17 ran); has had a break and been schooling well. Gets 7lb from the principals here over a trip his pedigree cries out for.
Grange Road is the worry. After running Ask Me Early to a neck at Exeter, he ran a tired-looking race and fell behind the same horse at Chepstow.
He returns over the same CD here as if trainer Paul Nicholls wants to show us how much better than that this horse really is.
⭕ 2.25 Chepstow Another ‘honey’ in the headlines could be Ask A Honey Bee, CD winner here the last day.
But the handicapper says he’s only a 2lb better horse for three chase places (221) and his similar hurdles mark suggests that improvement is now unlikely.
Sail Away was six lengths off Corach Rambler at Aintree before that one beat the consistent grey Eva’s Oskar two lengths at Cheltenham.
Sail Away then ran five lengths behind Dusart but has barely matched his hurdles rating. Similar story with Slipway.
De Young Warrior seemed to take well to fences first time but his Exeter win was on the soft in slow time, getting weight from most and unfancied at 22-1.
His 118 rating put him on 11st in that race but, after a 4lb rise, he’s carrying just 10st 9lb today which suggests that, though this is also billed as a class 3, it is a much better quality race.
Maria De Pail may be flattered by his second to Pic D’Orhy at Ffos Las, and the one for me is Striking A Pose, who was highly regarded last season until the yard went through a lean spell.
Back with a win at Exeter but for the first time today takes in a trip for which he’s bred. The Tizzards are doing well again, and have had two winners in February already. BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE 11.0. Danger: Eva’s Oskar 4.9.
⭕ 2.45 Lingfield One of the overnight punts was Aventurina, 15-2 in to 4-1 with bookmakers, and 6.0 in the BETDAQ orange as I write.
Since Jim Boyle’s filly has been starting up to 66-1 and 100-1 in handicaps, this is a heads up, after her decent effort on today’s course just one week ago. There’s another ‘hidden horse’ at Dundalk.
⭕ 4.30 Dundalk Last year at this time, Drakensberg dropped to 67 and, then aged seven, bolted home twice from big fields of horses young and old here at Dundalk.
Trainer Tony Martin’s current form figures are 112 and he won this last year with another eight-year-old. BETDAQ 15.0.
1.55 Chepstow (supernap)
BET 12pts win KYNTARA
2.25 Chepstow (win 20, win 10)
BET 2pts win STRIKING A POSE
BET 2.5pts win EVA’S OSKAR
2.45 Lingfield (win 20)
BET 4pts win AVENTURINA
4.30 Dundalk (win 20)
BET 1.4pts win DRAKENSBERG
What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….
Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.