How can Djakadam and Cue Card get among Cheltenham Gold Cup Dons?
Harry Preston | March 18, 2016
Gigginstown duo Don Cossack (3/1) and Don Poli (7/2) head the betting for Friday’s feature race, The Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Don Cossack has been favoured by retained Gigginstown jockey Bryan Cooper over Willie Mullins-trained Don Poli, however both seem to have a great chance in this.
Mullins also saddles last year’s runner up Djakadam (7/2), while Cue Card (4/1) spearheads the British challenge and may pose the biggest threat to the durable Dons.
Don Cossack was well backed and travelling well when falling in the King George which Cue Card (4/1) ended up winning in a thrilling finish with Vautour.
Gordon Elliott’s charge made up for that tumble last time, winning at Thurles in the Brae Chase giving him favourite tag in the festival’s showpiece.
We know that he has the stamina having stayed on strongly to win last year’s Punchestown Gold Cup before following it up with two victories over similar trips.
Another who will relish the stamina test is Don Poli, who has a good record at Cheltenham and is well fancied to give the Irish handler his first Gold Cup success.
With question marks over the stamina of other rivals such as Cue Card, it would be no surprise to see one of these Irish raiders outstay his rivals up the Cheltenham hill.
Treble on the Cards?
Cue Card has returned to the form that saw him bolt up in the Ryanair Chase back in 2013. Victories in the Betfair Chase and then the King George VI set him up for a tilt at Gold Cup glory, but there are questions marks over his stamina over the extended trip.
If the Colin Tizzard-trained gelding can get the better of the strong Irish contingent then owner Jean Bishop would pick up a £1 million bonus for completing a Grade 1 chase treble.
Paddy Brennan, who has won the Gold Cup before on board Imperial Commander, believes his mount has a “massive chance” of landing the most sought after race of the festival.
Vautour has franked the King George form after obliterating his Ryanair rivals on Thursday. If Cue Card can see out the trip we could be seeing another crowd favourite back in the winner’s enclosure.
Smad Place has each way claims
Promising seven-year-old, Djakadam thrashed stablemate Valseur Lido on his seasonal reappearance before falling here in January. Last year’s runner-up has the potential to go one better under the in-form Ruby Walsh, however the drying ground could be an issue.
On His Own (66/1) completes a strong Mullins trio having finished second in this two years ago but it held on form by his Gigginstown stablemate.
Another interesting contender is Alan King’s Smad Place (8/1) who won the Hennessey very impressively back in November. King’s nine-year-old put in a solid round of jumping to win at Cheltenham over the extended 3m trip so may be the main danger to the market principles.
Carlingford Lough and Rebecca Curtis’ duo, Irish Cavalier and O’Faolains Boy, complete the nine-strong field.