Racing UK ambassador Ruby Walsh on his Gold Cup chances

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After finishing second in the last two Cheltenham Gold Cups, could this be the year for Djakadam and Ruby Walsh?

Good form

According to Ruby, the horse is in a “great frame of mind” ahead of his third run there. The pair enjoyed a schooling run last week, and Djakadam is feeling very well.

“He jumped super and galloped well,’ said Ruby. “He wasn’t pushed too hard, but I was really happy with him. Fingers crossed, he can go to the Gold Cup in the good form he’s in at the moment.”

New approach

Trainer Willie Mullins, who has been the leading trainer at Cheltenham for the past few years, has tried a different approach with Djakadam, prior to the big race.

The first year he went to the Gold Cup following a win in the Thyestes Chase, while last year he fell in the BetBright Chase at Cheltenham and got a cut on his chest. This year the seven-year-old French bred Thoroughbred hasn’t had a run since the Lexus Chase at Christmas.

“His preparation has gone well and Willie is happy with him,” said Ruby. “The once or twice I’ve sat on Djakadam this season he’s given me a good feel and hopefully he can bring either of his Gold Cup runs to the table, which should put him there or thereabouts.”

‘Open race’

Djakadam is currently the third favourite, behind Cue Card and Native River. However, the Timico Gold Cup is fiercely competitive, so anything could happen on the day.

“The connections of Cue Card and Native River are both entitled to be bullish and when you add in Outlander, Don Poli and Sizing John,” said Ruby. “It’s shaping up into a good one again this year. It’s an open race and a lot of people think they have chances.”

Ruby Walsh is Cheltenham Festival’s most successful jockey and an ambassador for Racing UK, the UK’s premier horseracing TV channel. Racing UK is the only channel showing EVERY race live from the Cheltenham Festival. Live on-air from 9.30am for 10 hours each day, you can enjoy all the excitement, from the famous roar that heralds the first of 28 spectacular races, through to Friday’s showpiece, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Watch in HD on Sky 432 or on your tablet and mobile and enjoy the most comprehensive coverage available, including tips from expert pundits, video analysis and interviews with connections. Visit racinguk.com to watch it all or to find out more.