Walsh dilemma with Douvan and Djakadam both set to reappear
Sub Lieutenant ready to take step up in class in John Durkan says De Bromhead
Ruby Walsh has yet to decide where he will spend his Sunday. With Cork clashing with Punchestown the Irish champion jockey is faced with a dilemma – Douvan or Djakadam – but no decision has been made yet and Paul Townend will have to wait a little longer to find out what sumptuous scraps are left over.
Although Douvan featured in the five-day forfeits for both the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase and the John Durkan, Willie Mullins has already nominated the 2m contest at Cork for his Racing Post Arkle winner so Djakadam looks set to tackle the Grade 1 chase over two and a half miles at Punchestown, a race he won by 12 lengths from Valseur Lido last year.
"I have no idea where I am going yet. I haven't spoken to Willie about it yet and that is a decision for later in the week," Walsh told the Racing Post.
Douvan is the star name among a dozen entries for the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase and Cork manager Andrew Hogan is excited about the prospect of Queen Mother favourite appearing.
“The people of Cork are buzzing about Douvan coming,” Hogan said. “It is all anyone can talk about down here. The people of Cork can really appreciate good horses and Douvan is as good as you get. It's a huge thing for us and I'm expecting a huge card for what is going to be a great day.”
Gilgamboa is also entered at both Cork and Punchestown. Trainer Enda Bolger said: “We were over the moon with Gilgamboa at Navan and I didn't think he would stay on as well as he did.
"We're going to decide on Thursday where he will go. It depends on what the weather does but there is a small matter of a horse called Douvan at Cork so getting to grips with him would not be easy."
One horse who is definitely destined for Punchestown is Sub Lieutenant but Henry De Bromhead recognises it will be a big step up in class for his seven-year-old.
The trainer said: “His last two runs were against second-season novices so he's going in against the big boys now and it is a Grade 1 as well. It is another big step but he took the step from Limerick to Down Royal in his stride and now we have got to see if he can step up again."
Black Hercules, who won last season JLT Novices' Chase and is favourite for the Ryanair Chase, could also make his reappearance in the John Durkan.
Last season's Neptune winner Yorkhill is set to make his eagerly awaited chasing debut this weekend as well as he is entered in both the 2m4f beginners' chase at Navan on Saturday and the 2m4f beginners' chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
John Durkan Chase
Paddy Power: 6-4 Djakadam, 4 Sub Lieutenant, 5 Black Hercules, 8 Gilgamboa, Outlander, 14 Smashing, 16 Kylemore Lough, 20 Alelchi Inois, 25 bar.
Hilly Way Chase
Paddy Power: 1-6 Douvan, 8 The Game Changer, 12 Days Hotel, Gilgamboa, 14 Black Hercules, 16 Mozoltov, Top Gamble, 20 Grey Gold, 33 bar.