Horse Racing: Herculean test for Djakadam


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Trainer Willie Mullins may enter both Djakadam and Black Hercules in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.

The seven-year-old is seeking a first win since landing the same race last year, although Djakadam has finished in the top three in each of his last three outings.

Djakadam has finished as the runner-up in the last two editions of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, finishing behind Don Cossack earlier this year and Coneygree in 2015 in the Festival’s showpiece event.

Douvan also has an entry at Punchestown but the Grade 2 Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase in Cork on the same afternoon seems a more likely target, but Mullins may have three involved as Alelchi Inois is also in contention.

“We won’t finalise plans until later in the week but Djakadam won the race last year and is in good shape and I would be hoping for a real good run if he was to run in the race,” said Mullins, as reported by the Racing Post.

He added: “Black Hercules could also make his first start of the season, he’s in good form. Douvan and Alelchi Inois have also been left in at this stage.”

Djakadam is currently priced at 13.00 ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, while Don Cossack and Coneygree are both on offer at 9.00.

Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack is the current favourite at 4.00 and Cue Card is 7.00. Douvan, winner of the Racing Post Arkle, is available at 13.00 and Black Hercules is 34.00.

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