Latest Horse Racing News – 7 December 2015

Gold Cup runner-up storms to Punchestown triumph

Djakadam sealed a great win in the two and a half mile Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday, finishing 12 lengths clear of Valsuer Lido.

The runner-up in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup took that impressive victory as he warms up for this season’s Cheltenham Festival, and he’ll certainly be one of the ones to watch. Trainer Willie Mullins was delighted with the win, and he said that he came close to pulling the-six-year old out before the race.

“Henrietta Knight said he will win the Gold Cup, so I’ll quote her,” Mullins said. “I wasn’t happy with him during the week and was nearly not going to run, but to run like that after the way he was, I’m absolutely delighted with him. It was some performance considering everything.”

Elsewhere, Al Ferof, one of the main contenders for the King George VI on Boxing Day, won at Huntington. There was also the first race of the season over the Aintree fences, and there was a big winner to delight punters in that one. 20/1 shot Highland Lodge won the Becher Handicap Chase.

Sire De Grugy won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, despite a steward’s inquiry. The 10-3 shot picked up a first win since February by seeing off Special Tiara, and the two had clashed at the final fence. But, the inquiry saw no reason to penalise him, giving trainer Gary Moore and his son Jamie, the jockey, a great win.

After the race, the winning jockey was full of praise for the horse that he called his, “best mate.”

“He always jumps left, he’s jumped a bit left again at the last,” said Jamie Moore. “I thought Special Tiara was going to get by me, but he’s toughed it out. He went again when Special Tiara got to me.”