Racing

Djakadam hold all the Cards in Gold Cup

Djakadam can make it third-time lucky in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham today

The crashing fall of Cue Card in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup was one of the defining moments of the meeting and one that led to more questions being asked as opposed to being solved.

Although the spill at the third-last saw the still strong-travelling former Ryanair Chase winner miss out on capturing a £1 bonus, for owner Jean Bishop victory was simply seeing her pride and joy return safe.

"Paddy Brennan's idea was to get him over that fence and then go on with him, but it didn't work out that way,' she said.

"He was travelling well, but that doesn't mean to say he would have won. Nobody knows what the result would have been.

"When I saw him go down I stopped watching the race. To tell you the truth my mind was blank. It had come as such a shock that he had fallen. I was just hoping that he got up OK. He did and he lives to fight another day.

"He has always been very solid with his jumping, but they can make mistakes, although Paddy did admit it might not have been the horse's fault and that he should have waited until the two in front had gone over the fence before he went."

Despite statistics suggesting Cue Card is now too old to win the blue riband prize, with 12-year-old What A Myth back in 1969 the last horse above the age of 10 to triumph, Bishop feels her star performer is more than capable of a third Festival success.

This afternoon's Gold Cup is an open race.

Who, back in January, would have thought that, come the day it would be a 4/1 the field race with Cue Card a 9/2 chance in places?

Djakadam is having his third bite at the cherry. This is a race which doesn't afford consolation to dual runners-up but in this case the revival of the Mullins and Walsh fortunes yesterday is likely to impact strongly on their runners this afternoon and Djakadam might end up going off clear favourite.

I can't warm to Native River though.

More Of That could run a big race and on form Champagne West shouldn't be the 20/1 chance offered on some lists.

Djakadam might beat Cue Card.

With six runners we are well represented in the opening Triumph Hurdle and we've won three of the last four renewals.

Ruby rides Bapaume, well held when runner-up to the reopposing Mega Fortune at Leopardstown last month. That winner can confirm the form.

Ex Patriot would be attractive to some as value each-way at 28/1. But just how good are Defi Du Seuil and Charli Parcs?

The County Hurdle is a bit of a rip-off and I'd imagine that Irish hopes Mick Jazz and Ivanovich Gorbatov are well under the odds.

But it's a 14/1 bar three race as I write. I'm taking chance with an each-way interest on Karl Thornton's Wakea at 33/1.

Gordon Elliott's Death Duty, unbeaten in his four outings over hurdles and boasting a 150 rating, has always been favourite for the Albert Bartlett and can justify his position ahead of Augusta Kate.

On The Fringe has looked as good as ever and the 12-year-old is only a 7/4 chance to take the Foxhunters' for the third time. No Nina Carberry this time but Jamie Codd is an adequate sub.

At a big price there may be some each-way value in the Fermoy-trained Sweet As A Nut as he holds Minella For Value and Buckers Bridge on points form.

Runfordave has a decent enough mark in the Martin Pipe Hurdle and that is reflected in his price.

At the odds I'd be prepared to take a similar chance with one of the Mullins' runners, Castello Sforza, the mount of Jonathan Moore. He looks an each-way proposition at 16/1.

Davy Russell rides Dandridge in the concluding race of the meeting.

Second in this race last year, he runs now off a 6 lb higher mark.

I can't have him on my conscience but I'm not going to put him up as an 8/1 lay.

Neville Ring

1.30 Mega Fortune (Dbl)

2.10 Wakea

2.50 Death Duty (Nap)

3.30 Djakadam

4.10 On The Fringe

4.50 Castello Sforza

5.30 The Game Changer

Next Best

1.30 X Patriot

2.10 Winter Escape

2.50 Augusta Kate

3.30 Cue Card

4.10 Sweet As A Nut

4.50 Runfordave

5.30 Velvet Maker

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