Road to Cheltenham: Djakadam splits opinion, who’s got it right?

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Another busy weekend of racing produced plenty more storylines to get stuck into with one in particular dividing opinion.

Djakadam jumped well (bar one small blunder) and showed plenty of heart to become only the second dual win of the John Durkan Memorial Chase on Sunday.

However, not everyone in the racing press was completely convinced by the seven-year-old’s seasonal reappearance.

Here’s our take on that news nugget and a whole lot more in this latest Road to Cheltenham edition…

What price should Djakadam be for the Gold Cup?

Our traders reacted to Djakadam’s success at Punchestown by cutting him from 12/1 to 10/1 for next year’s Gold Cup.

And given the likely strength of the 2017 field you’d have to say that looks just about right for a horse that’s played bridesmaid on two previous occasions.

Thistlecrack, Cue Card, Coneygree and Don Cossack are all shorter in the betting with the latter not seen since landing the spoils at Prestbury Park back in March.

Many feel Djakadam will continue to improve as the season progresses and with a switch back to his preferred trip.

But having failed to get up the famous hill twice before, the oddsmakers at Ladbrokes HQ obviously feel Willie Mullins’ star still merits a double-figure price.

As do the likes of Racing Post writer Bruce Jackson who put it best yesterday when saying: “For some firms to make him [Djakadam] a single-figure price against the likes of Cue Card, Thistlecrack, Native River and his two Gold Cup conquerors Coneygree and Don Cossack is an overreaction in what looks sure to be a stronger race than last year.”

New One for the World Hurdle?

Carl Llewellyn, assistant to Nigel Twiston-Davies, set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday by suggesting in the Racing Post that The New One could be entered for the World Hurdle at next year’s Festival.

He certainly showed plenty of spark when landing a third International Hurdle win on Saturday, a result which saw the popular eight-year-old come in to 25/1 for the Champion Hurdle.

But so far we’ve taken any talk of being tried at a longer trip with a pinch of salt. TNO doesn’t feature in our World Hurdle market and his chances of landing the big prize over two miles also look pretty slim.

Ireland leading the way with young guns to look out for

Sunday’s cards at Cork and Punchestown threw up plenty of pointers, with the most obvious involving Douvan and his vice-like grip on the Champion Chase market following another facile success.

But elsewhere, the Gordon Elliott-trained Dinaria Des Obeaux and Mullins’ American Tom were also impressive.

The former has been entered as 20/1 chance for the Triumph Hurdle after routing his nearest challenger by 29 lengths.

Meanwhile, American Tom is now 10/1 for the JLT Novices’ Chase having opened up at double that price.

The talented five-year-old overcame some classy rivals on his chase debut and is definitely one to look out for.

The girl did good at Cheltenham

Much to this writer’s own personal delight, Barry Geraghty did the business onboard Briery Queen and in turn delivered a handsome profit for readers of our Saturday Racing Tips column.

She travelled like a dream and quickened up nicely to breeze to a three-and-a-half length victory and there could well be more to come.

Noel Williams’ heroine is rated as a 16/1 for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle and we’ll be keeping an eye on her over the course of the winter and into the spring.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.