Don Cossack To Nip Boston Bob To The Post
John Durkan Memorial Chase
The highlight of what is a cracking card at Punchestown on Sunday is the John Durkan Memorial Chase (2.00), where several old favourites are set to take each other on.
One such “favourite” is Gordon Elliott’s 7yo, Don Cossack, who is indeed set to go off the 11/10 favourite on Sunday. That price comes courtesy of an impressive Grade 2 win at Down Royal last month (2m4f, yielding), which saw him surpass his Grade 1 novice win from last term.
Having experimented over a range of trips in recent seasons, it looks as though 2m4f suits best, as he is undefeated over chases at this distance (2-2).
Don Cossack has the ideal profile for this event and remains a solid favourite.
But Sunday’s event is certainly no one-horse race, as the likes of Willie Mullins’, Boston Bob (7/4), will be breathing right down Don Cossack’s neck.
This 9yo signed off last season with a Grade 1 double at Aintree (2m4f) and Punchestown (3m) on good ground, and shaped as though needing the run when beaten 29l on his return at Down Royal last month. He was well backed that day, however, and had previously won on his seasonal return in 2013 and 2012, so will need to return to form if landing a third Grade 1.
It’s also worth noting that Boston Bob may emerges from just outside the preferred age bracket as a 9yo…
Of the last 10 John Durkan winners…
10 returned 8/1 or shorter (33%) – others were 0-30
10 were 6-8yo’s – others were 23
9 won 3-5 chases
9 ran during the last 26-75 days
8 were officially rated 150 or higher
8 won during their last three runs
8 had 5-10 chase runs (8-29, 28%) – others were 2-36 (5%)
8 ran at either Down Royal (4), Clonmel (2) or Navan (2)
The above trends clearly show that either Don Cossack or Boston Bob should win on Sunday from a market perspective, but there is still each-way value around via the likes of Noel Meade’s, Texas Jack (8/1), who was touched off just a nose by Boston Bob in a Grade 1 novice in January (2m4f, heavy). A Grade 2 winner subsequently, it will be interesting if there is any money for him ahead of race time following a 301-day absence.
Also absent for 268 days is Jim Culloty’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Lord Windermere (8/1) who starts his defence of jump racing’s Blue Riband on Sunday, although it’s hard to imagine he will be at his best over a trip short of his best. A watching brief could prove best for him in what will be a long season ahead.
If there is one who could make the places at a big price, then Mouse Morris’ 8yo, Baily Green (20/1), has form in Grade 1’s down the years, including when a close runner-up to both Simonsig and Sizing Europe over 2m. Although held 3/4l by Texas Jack over this trip in January, but is entitled to be thereabouts.
An interesting contest, but one in which Don Cossack can take, as he boasts the best recent form on show and has the look of a typical winner on past trends.