Sub Lieutenant the punt in John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown
Sub Lieutenant odds appeal in Punchestown feature
Sub Lieutenant has taken his form to a new level this season, so is decent value to land the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase over 2m 4f at Punchestown on Sunday (14:00).
The gelding had some fair form to his name over fences last campaign when trained by Gordon Elliott, winning a Grade 3 at Naas and finishing a solid third in a Grade 1 over 3m 1f at his venue on the final start of the campaign.
However, he has looked a totally different proposition in winning his two starts this season in impressive fashion since joining Henry De Bromhead.
After putting in an electric round of jumping to register a facile 13-length success at Limerick, Sub Lieutenant could not have been more impressive when beating Outlander by 3 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Titanic Belfast Chase at Down Royal.
Spectacular jumper among John Durkan Memorial Chase tips
The seven-year-old again put in a spectacular round of jumping before asserting two from home and pulling readily clear to score with tons in hand.
It was a most taking performance and the form of the race has a really solid look to it.
Outlander has since gone on to fall at the last in a Grade 2 contest with the race at his mercy, the third home Le Mercurey ran well to finish second to Grand National winner Many Clouds at Aintree and the fourth home Zabana subsequently scored at Gowran Park.
This is much hotter contest which clearly demands much more from Sub Lieutenant. but he is on a serious upward curve and looks the type who should have even more to offer.
The trip looks ideal and his sound, attacking jumping technique is another major asset in his armoury, which can enable him to land the hat-trick in a mouthwatering contest.
Djakadam bidding for back-to-back successes
Djakadam was very impressive when slamming Valseur Lido by 12 lengths in the race 12 months ago, so looks sure to make a bold bid to retain his crown.
Trained by Willie Mullins, this eight-year-old posted some top class efforts in 2015, chasing home Coneygree in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before going on to finish a seven-length runner-up to the mighty Don Cossack in a Grade 1 at this track.
Djakadam also ran a stormer to finish runner-up to Don Cossack in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and the form of those races sets a clear standard in this line-up.
He is officially rated 11lb superior to Sub Lieutenant, but this is his first run of the season whereas that rival has two under his belt and is primed to the minute.
Djakadam is also prone to making a costly blunder or two, while the selection is a bold front runner who will put his jumping to the test over a trip which is arguably shorter than ideal.
Coral’s top tip: Sub Lieutenant odds look worth a wager to thwart Djakadam’s bid to win the race for a second time.