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Ruby Walsh: Djakadam may still be improving while this 7/1 chance can scoop some Caviar on Saturday

A dazzling Sunday treble at Punchestown rescued a week-to-forget as we look ahead to Cheltenham this weekend

by Ruby Walsh | December 8, 2015

This Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup looks a rematch of the Paddy Power Gold Cup with the first three home taking each other on again.

The one difference though is that this contest is run over the New Course at Cheltenham – not the Old – and that may suit the hold-up horses a little more.

Evan Williams’ Buywise looked like he would have collared the winner Annacotty in another 100 yards last month. On this stiffer track, he’d be my pick to turn the tables on Alan King’s runner.

Rebecca Curtis’s Irish Cavalier looked all over the winner when hitting the front – but faded into fifth up the hill. If ridden differently this time to deliver his challenge a bit later – he looks a player.

Paul Nicholls’ Sound Investment  finished third off top weight and will have to do it the hard way again if he’s to get his head in front on Saturday. Stablemate Art Mauresque finished sixth and this lightly-raced five-year-old could easily run into the places this time – especially if the ground dries up.

Champagne West hasn’t raced since January but has decent form as a novice and has won twice at Cheltenham. He could be well handicapped but we’ve seen that a prep run has proved invaluable before having at tilt at these competitive races. The same applies to Willie Mullins’ Mosoltov if he travels over as he’s been off for a long time too.

International Hurdle

There’s no decision yet on whether Sempre Medici will travel over for the International Hurdle but there could be a race there within a race to see who is the best four-year-old out of Peace and Co , Hargam and Old Guard .

Even if one of the younger horses stamp their authority on this they still have a fair way to improve to beat the older horses next season.

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Jumping Djak Flash

A week that started disappointingly with Un De Sceaux being ruled out of the Tingle Creek Chase was rescued by Djakadam’s brilliant performance at Punchestown last Sunday. He quickened up really well from the third last and put daylight between himself and some highly-rated 2m 4f specialists.

On that evidence, his exertions in the Gold Cup haven’t taken their toll on him and he’s still only a six-year-old. He may even have improved and could improve again. He went into the race with the rating to do what he did and I’m just glad he did it.

Stamina

Don Poli was very good at Aintree last Saturday and while he’s yet to win over 3m 2f he looks like he could stay 5m 2f if asked!

The first three home in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup Coneygree, Djakadam and Road to Riches have all proven their stamina.

The new kids on the block like Vautour and Don Cossack  now have to go and prove it too. We should know some of the answer after the King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26th.

After that though, we may be asking are the others are quick enough to keep up …

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Magical

Pont Alexandre’s comeback win in the beginners’ chase was a magical training performance by Willie Mullins and great work by the lad who looks after him David Porter.

A lot of time and effort went into him and it was 998 days since he last ran. There’s no real plan for him he ‘ll have a couple of easy days but it might be too much to ask him to race again at Christmas in three weeks’ time.

My first winner on the card Yorkhill was quite keen and it’s hard to know whether he should go up in trip or back down in trip. His jumping improved as he went along but he’s a nice horse with a future.

He’ll been a better horse in a better race, that’s for sure.

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Bump ‘n’ Grind

I was delighted for the Moore team and Sire De Grugy after they won the Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday.

There was a lengthy stewards’ inquiry but I always expected the result to stand because that’s the way the rules are written. But I don’t think that rules that protect the offender – rather than the victim – are helpful in any sport.

Sire Du Grugy caused the interference with Special Tiara at the last fence when he jinked , jumped left and collided with Henry de Bromhead’s runner even if there was nothing Jamie Moore could have done to prevent it.

My own opinion is that if Special Tiara had a clear run then he may just have shaded it on the day but an appeal looks pointless now as I can’t see the stewards changing the result.

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