Djakadam suffers cut in Cheltenham fall

TURF TALK

Djakadam suffers cut in Cheltenham fall

With Cheltenham only weeks away now the Gloucester track held it's pre festival trials meeting at the weekend and it sprung a few surprises.

Djakadam is set for a week on the easy list after sustaining a cut on his chest when falling at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Willie Mullins' charge was sent off the 5-6 favourite for the Grade Two event in what was supposed to be his prep run for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March.

He was still travelling well when he crashed out at the 10th fence, suffering a cut that required stitching in the process.

Mullins tweeted: "Djakadam is back home. He has a cut on his chest that required stitching and will have an easy week walking."

Warwick option for Cheltenham Festival possible Open Eagle

Open Eagle could return to Warwick for his next start in a bid to confirm his Cheltenham Festival target.

A high-profile purchase for the Supreme Horse Racing Club after winning the 2014 November Handicap for David O'Meara in facile fashion, he has won one of his four starts over timber.

Second to Supreme Novices' Hurdle fancy Altior at Kempton on Boxing Day before chasing home stablemate Thomas Hobson at Warwick last time, he has some decent form in the book and his next run will tell connections whether he should be aimed at one of Cheltenham's major novice prizes or switch to handicap company.

"He might go back to Warwick on Saturday week for a novice hurdle," said Supreme racing manager Steve Massey.

"He made up a lot of ground there last time. Thomas Hobson went a long way clear, then at the last it looked like we might win, but Thomas Hobson picked up again.

"He's beaten some good horses at Kempton and Warwick - he finished in front of horses rated 140 at Kempton yet he rated 137, which is OK.

"The novice entries are closing and he'll have entries in those, but we'll see how he gets on next time before we make any firm plans.

"I think he wants a bit better ground. He may have won on heavy on the Flat, but Flat heavy and Jumps heavy are two completely different things."

Pat Fahy thrilled with Morning Assembly comeback run

Pat Fahy expects Morning Assembly to make plenty of progress after finishing a narrow second on his return from a long lay-off at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

Having his first run since April 2014, Morning Assembly was beaten just a head in a rated chase, leaving Fahy to consider the next target for his Grade One-placed chaser.

Fahy said: "I'm extremely happy with that. I felt coming here if he was involved over the last few fences I'd be happy, but to battle back the way he did was great.

"I've never bullied him to get to this stage. We have eased him back to get where we are, and he has a number of options now including at Haydock over an extra mile, and the Bobbyjo back here.

"Davy (Russell) liked him, and he should improve from that. However, the ground is the key and it probably won't last like that for much longer."

Shaneshill fails to shine in Lightning at Doncaster

Shaneshill, the 11-8 favourite, was very disappointing for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend in the grand-national2016.co.uk Novices' Chase at Doncaster.

The Irish raider could only finish fourth as Vaniteux ran out a very willing and very able winner.

Arzal set a fair clip for a long way in the Grade Two over two miles until the Nicky Henderson-trained winner edged into the lead at the third-last.

The long-term leader laudably kept going, but Vaniteux had flown under Nico de Boinville, whose partner was three and a quarter lengths in the clear at the line.

De Boinville said: "He's a very nice horse.

"He was slightly taken off his feet early but we went a really good clip and it was a strong trial.

"He idled a bit after the last but it's a very strong headwind.

"We're just where we want to be."

Limini flies at Fairyhouse for Willie Mullins

Limini enhanced her Cheltenham Festival prospects with a convincing victory in the Three Coolmore NH Sires Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The five-year-old, who is ante-post favourite for the new mares' hurdle at the big meeting, had not been seen making a winning debut for owner Rich Ricci and trainer Willie Mullins at Punchestown in May.

However, the 4-5 shot overcame that absence with aplomb to dismiss closest pursuer Cashelard Lady by 11 lengths in the hands of the trainer's nephew, Danny Mullins.

"Danny said she did it very easy, and her jumping was better when they were going a quicker pace," said the trainer's son and assistant, Patrick.

"She has a big engine, and should come on from it.

"It's good for Danny who is making the most of his opportunities."