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Douvan And Djakadam Impress

December 11th, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Willie Mullins may not always be the toast of ante-post players with his late decisions on running plans and last-minute switches, but nobody knows his horses better and he usually gets it right.

That looked the case today, when Douvan won the Hilly Way Chase in effortless style by 22 lengths from Days Hotel, with Fine Rightly a further two and a half lengths back in third. One has to say this wasn’t a flawless performance – the 1/6 favourite got close to the third last and last – but the ease with which he won was exceptional and a line through the second and third has him running to a mark in the mid to high 170s.

Douvan is now as short as 4/9 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with Fox Norton next best at 7/1.

As for Djakadam, he had to work harder to get the better of Outlander by a hard-fought one and a quarter lengths. The seven-year-old has twice finished runner-up in the Gold Cup yet he will still only be eight in March. Now no bigger than 10/1, this will set him up well for the season without suggesting he has made sufficient improvement to win a Gold Cup.

Yesterday was a typically trappy afternoon from a betting perspective. Luckily I kept focused on horses that had caught my eye, and Pure Vision from my Under The Radar feature in the Weekend Card defied a market drift to win the closing 0-120 handicap hurdle at Lingfield. Having been beaten over 200 lengths in four starts over hurdles, nobody could have said his opening mark of 102 was lenient, but he had shown ability when twice second from three starts in bumpers and he had the look of a long-term project.

I have just completed writing the Winter Guide, which will be printed tomorrow and ready for despatch at the end of the week.

Packed with around 25,000 words, it includes an interview with a trainer who is planning a raid at Musselburgh over the New Year, my eye-catchers, a look at the Cheltenham ante-post market, a full in-depth preview of the King George, news from Ireland and Jodie’s Point-to-Pointers and lots more. It’s perfect reading for the racing enthusiast over the festive season.

Please refer to the shop for further details on this and my other services over Christmas,

Bye for now

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Marten Julian, 69 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria. LA9 4ED    Tel: 01539 741 007    -    Fax: 08448 11 22 97    -    email: info@martenjulian.com