Irish Gold Cup Preview : Djakadam Can Win This Championship Chase
- Leopardstown Racecourse, Ireland
- Sunday, February 4th at 3.35pm
- Sunday, February 4th at 3.35pm
The Irish Gold Cup is the feature race of the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival which brings together many of the best horses trained in Ireland. The concept is based on the major races from two fixtures and there are seven Grade 1 races over the two days of the meeting. Willie Mullins could train the winner of the championship races for hurdlers and steeplechasers in Faugheen and Djakadam. You can back these horses or your own selections using a bookmaker horse racing free bet.
The Dublin meeting has not been well supported by trainers based in the UK. It comes just five weeks before the Cheltenham Festival so travelling and a hard race could spoil the chances of success for horses at the jumps meeting that matters most. On one hand you could say the major races in Ireland this weekend are trials for Cheltenham but they are lucrative races in their own right. Two stalwarts could win their respective races as they try to reproduce their best form.
Faugheen won the Champion Hurdle in 2015 and is the favourite for Saturday’s Irish equivalent. After a lengthy injury absence the horse made a pleasing return but was pulled up at Leopardstown over Christmas. Nothing seriously wrong was discovered and the run is a mystery to connections. Faugheen’s dismal last run could have been a one-off and or an indication that connections have gone to the well once too often. Another poor run would hasten the retirement of the former champion.
Mullins and his principal owner, Rich Ricci, expertly place horses so there should be no excuses for Faugheen. The sport in Ireland would receive a boost if Faugheen (6/4 with Ladbrokes) was as good as ever because they would then have a leading contender for the Champion Hurdle. Buveur D’Air is the current champion and it will take an exceptional horse to prevent another win in the Champion Hurdle. Faugheen can begin that process by winning the Irish Champion Hurdle on Saturday.
Samcro (16/1 with Coral) potentially could be the best horse in the race but he is still a novice and would struggle against the older and more experienced horse. Samcro was bought for £300,000 at the Aintree sales in April 2016 and is justifying the hype and purchase price. Winning the Irish Champion Hurdle may be beyond Samcro but the horse should win one of the two novice hurdlers that are the target. Samcro is prominent in the betting for the two shorter novice hurdles at the festival.
Djakadam could complete a double for the Mullins/Ricci team by winning the Irish Gold Cup the following day. The horse has finished in the top four in the last three Gold Cups and winning that race is now unlikely. Djakadam also showed excellent form behind Sizing John in the Punchestown Gold Cup last spring. The horse may not win the big one but an Irish version is feasible. The absence of Sizing John makes the job much easier and Djakadam can deliver this time.
DJAKADAM has the form and class to prevail in the Irish Gold Cup.
- The race is run over three miles and there are 17 fences.
- Jodami (1993), Imperial Call and Sizing John (2017) won the race and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year.
- Florida Pearl won the race four times which is a record.
- The winning most jockey is Mark Dwyer with four wins.
- The winning most trainer is Willie Mullins with nine wins.
- Since the first race in 1987 there have been eight winners aged 10 or older.
- The average price of the winner over the last five years is 5/1.
- No favourite has won the race in that spell.