Cheltenham Glory Bodes Well For Djakadam
Punchestown Gold Cup
Wednesday’s Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup has historically been a race that provides an opportunity for Cheltenham Gold Cup runners to scrap it out once more, and this year’s renewal is no different.
Djakadam On Gold Trail
Representing last month’s Blue Riband event is the runner-up, Djakadam (9/4), the third, Road To Riches (5/2) and fifth-placed, On His Own (14/1). Throw into the mix the Ryanair/Melling Chase winner, Don Cossack (4/1), and you have the recipe for a potential thriller.
History suggests Cheltenham has to be the first port-of-call when looking for Wednesday’s winner,
as six of the last 10 Punchestown Gold Cup winners came via Cheltenham, which will give Djakadam’s followers confidence.
Willie Mullins’ 6yo improved a stone when recording a career best to get within over 1l of Coneygree in the Gold Cup, drifting right up the hill. This switch back to 3m1f will be ideal and it’s easy to see why punters have already smashed into him, especially as he is a 6yo, which fits the trends profile for this event…
Of the last 10 Gold Cup winners…
10 were 6-9yo’s
8 arrived via Cheltenham (6) or Aintree (2)
8 made the top four last time
9 were rested for 26 days or longer
W Mullins & P Nicholls won it twice apiece
Meade To Hit Riches?
But, what of the Cheltenham third, Road To Riches? Well, Noel Meade’s 8yo almost followed up his Lexus Chase win at Christmas when 2l behind Djakadam, just running out of petrol during the last furlong. Like Djakadam, this easier 3m1f will suit, and there shouldn’t be a lot between the pair once more.
On His Own has already franked the Cheltenham form by winning a Grade 3 by 15l earlier this month, though he has a bit to prove having not enjoyed himself in this race 12 months ago when a distant eighth.
Don’t Forget Don
Gordon Elliott’s Don Cossack, on the other hand, is a dual winner at Punchestown, and comes here at the top of his game having won his third Grade 1 at Aintree three weeks ago (2m4f, good), beating Cue Card (10/1) by 26l. The jury remains out whether he truly stays 3m in a Grade 1, but he’ll have the chance to answer such questions on Wednesday.
The Brits last won this in 2010, and will look to David Pipe’s 9yo, Ballynagour (8/1), as their leading hope. Beaten only a head by Silviniaco Conti in a Grade 1 at Aintree last time (3m1f, good to soft), he was a 5l runner-up to Sizing Europe over 2m at this meeting 12 months ago and could be one for each-way backers.
With the Cheltenham Gold Cup such a reliable guide, it’s hard not to be drawn to the chances of Djakadam, who was a creditable runner-up and has his best days ahead of him.