Djakadam to pack a punch

Ashley Iveson has a selection for every race on Sunday, with Djakadam fancied to land the John Durkan once more.

CORK: 12.35 Ineffable, 1.10 Woods Well, 1.40 Monbeg Notorious, 2.15 Douvan, 2.45 Listen Dear, 3.20 Dallas Cowboy, 3.50 Varene De Vauzelle.

CARLISLE: 12.00 Bubsy Burbidge, 12.30 Halcyon Days, 1.05 Above Board, 1.35 Ballyben, 2.10 Jennys Day, 2.40 FIONN MAC CUL (NAP), 3.15 Miss Tynte.

PUNCHESTOWN: 12.25 Conrad Hastings, 12.55 Toe The Line, 1.30 Sweet Cherry, 2.00 Djakadam, 2.35 American Tom, 3.05 White Arm, 3.40 Burren Life.

SOUTHWELL: 12.15 Musical Wedge, 12.45 Global Dream, 1.20 Sandymount, 1.50 Comely, 2.25 Late Night Lily, 2.55 Laser Light, 3.30 She's Late.

DOUBLE: Fionn Mac Cul and Late Night Lily.

Fionn Mac Cul can claim a second win at Carlisle and make a successful start to his career over fences in the Carlisle Annual Members Chase.

With the ground finally easing in many parts of the country, it is little surprise Venetia Williams is beginning to fire in a few winners, with the horses she trains often at their best when the mud is flying.

This five-year-old fits into that category and was brought along steadily last season after being bought from the Irish point-to-point field.

He improved from a rather uninspiring hurdling debut at Aintree to gain a narrow success at Taunton, before two miles at Wetherby proved too sharp, even in testing ground.

A step up in distance and the more demanding nature of Carlisle brought out his best when he was last seen back in February, earning him a 3lb hike to a perch of 128.

He goes straight into a novice handicap over fences off that mark and looks well treated, with the change of discipline expected to bring about considerable improvement.

Aided by jockey-of-the-moment Brian Hughes, Malcolm Jefferson has his team firing on all cylinders and the pair can hit the bullseye once more with Ballyben.

The eight-year-old joined Jefferson having previously been trained by Lucinda Russell prior to the start of this season.

He failed to justify favouritism on his debut for the yard at Hexham, but righted that wrong here with victory in October before a sound effort in defeat at Ayr.

The Edmundson Electrical Mark Graham Farewell Handicap Chase looks a competitive enough heat, but Ballyben gets the nod.

Late Night Lily can complete a hat-trick in the TBA Serena Gabriella Cruz Hill Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Southwell.

An impressive winner of a Fontwell bumper on her first start of last season, the Dan Skelton-trained five-year-old progressed into a useful novice over timber.

Following an April win at Huntingdon she was brought down at Newton Abbot, but it clearly did her no harm as since returning from a four-month break she has won at Market Rasen and back at Huntingdon decisively.

She may have been underestimated on her handicap debut off a rating of 119.

Alan King's Laser Light can give weight and a beating to his rivals in the Millie Ann Novices' Hurdle.

The Towcester bumper scorer was impressive on his hurdling bow at Chepstow and this is an easier task than when narrowly beaten by Elegant Escape at Ascot last time.

There is some top-class action to look forward to in Ireland, with Djakadam expected to successfully defend his crown in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old dominated his rivals 12 months ago before going on to fill the runner-up spot in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the second year in succession.

Last year's triumph proved he goes well fresh and he may be the champion trainer's best chance of claiming a maiden Gold Cup success again this season following the sad loss of Vautour.

Mullins introduces American Tom to fences in the Alan Lillingston Memorial Beginners Chase.

The Closutton dogs have been barking this French import's name for quite a while and while he may have been a shade fortuitous to make a successful Irish debut at Gowran Park in November of last year, he ultimately justified his cramped odds.

There are some smart rivals in opposition on his chasing bow, including former stable companion Gangster, and his fitness has to be taken on trust, but if he is top class he really should be winning.

Douvan is very much the star of the show at Cork as he puts his unbeaten record for Mullins on the line in the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase.

While this is a decent test of the six-year-old on his return to action, with Gilgamboa a worthy adversary, Douvan should still have too many guns under Paul Townend.

The same combination can land the Kerry Group European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Chase with the front-running Listen Dear.

Read More at Sporting Life

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