Mullins eyeing French Gold Cup bid for luckless Djakadam

Trainer may target France’s richest jumps prize with dual Cheltenham runner-up

David Mullins on Bellshill (left) clears the last ahead of Patrick Mullins on Djakadam in last Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

David Mullins on Bellshill (left) clears the last ahead of Patrick Mullins on Djakadam in last Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Willie Mullins sends two horses with excellent chances to Ballinrobe on Tuesday although the champion jumps trainer’s next major targets are likely to be in Paris in less than three weeks.

The French Champion Hurdle (the Grand Course De Haies D’Auteuil) has been a happy hunting ground for Mullins in the past having won it on four occasions.

But it is France’s Gold Cup – the €850,000 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris – run on the same day (May 20th) which could yet provide the luckless Djakadam with a deserved Blue Riband success.

Twice runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Djakadam bounced back to something like his best when runner-up to his stable companion Bellshill in last Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup. It was the fourth year in a row Djakadam finished runner-up in the race.

Mullins has confirmed he is considering France’s richest jumps prize for Djakadam and another Grade One target for the Irishman at Auteuil on the same weekend could be the €250,000 Prix Alain Du Breil.

Mullins has previously won the French version of the Triumph Hurdle with Footpad (2016) and Diakali (2013.) Jockey Ruby Walsh also won it 13 years ago on Strangely Brown.

Walsh missed Punchestown last week through injury but has reported: “I’d love to make May 19th at Auteuil but that will be up to my surgeon. He wouldn’t let me ride at Punchestown so I’ll go back to him in a few week and see what he says”.

Robin Des Foret makes his debut over fences in Tuesday’s Beginners Chase at Ballinrobe and a horse that ran off 142 on his last start over flights in November should be hard to beat here.

Mullins also sends the Limerick runner-up Vent d’Automne west of the Shannon for the bumper and slightly better ground should help him.

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