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05th Dec 2015

The 5 questions we all want answered from this weekend’s racing

If the meets survive the weather

Patrick McCarry

Ahead of this weekend’s racing action, which will hopefully not be too rain affected – Hayley O’Connor of Ladbrokes answers the burning questions.

Storm Desmond is causing some havoc to this weekend’s sporting events but, thankfully, much of the horse racing has survived.

1. None of the previous winners since the turn of the century won the John Durkan Memorial Chase on their seasonal debut. Can the favourite Djakadam win this race fresh?

I’d be sceptical. The likes of the Grade One winner Clarcam will be race fit and conditions could require that edge. Love the horse, but Djakadam won’t be on my list of bankers for the weekend.

2. Can last year’s impressive RSA Chase winner Don Poli bounce back to justify favouritism in the 2.15 at Aintree on Saturday?

I think the Aintree Grand National winner Many Clouds will put it up to him. He’s stretched his legs in October and will improve from that run. If Don Poli shows his usual tardiness getting into a race, he may find it difficult to claw back ground at this track.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JANUARY 27: Ruby Walsh riding Pont Alexandre on their way to winning The Synergy Security Solutions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown racecourse on January 27, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

3. Will the former Grade One winner Pont Alexandre defy an absence of almost 1000 days to make a winning return in a beginners chase at 2.25 in Punchestown on Sunday against a horse, Nickname Exit, that went down by a nose a couple of weeks ago?

Yes (hopefully!). While race fitness might be the difference in me thinking some other classy runners are vulnerable this weekend, I think that Pont Alexandre’s quality over the 8 other contenders in the field, will see him home and hosed.

4. Only one favourite in 10 years has delivered for punters in the Becher Chase, which goes to post at 1.40 on Saturday, can Goonyella give us another?

If there is one horse I’d like to see collect this weekend, it is Goonyella. Jim Dreaper is a mistro with these National horses, and so far this one has won a Midlands National, been second in a Scotish National and hopefully, will add a Becher Chase to his CV. If the heavens opened, I’d be even more hopeful of his chances

5. Will the Tingle Creek Chase at 3.00 Sandown be a good renewal?

Even though we have former winner Sire De Grugy and Sandown Spinter Sacre conquerer Special Tiara locking horns, I worry if this will be a memorable renewal. Gary Moore’s belief that Sire De Grugy has turned a corner comes true; and Special Tiara goes back to jumping brilliantly, better than he did at Navan. That is, however, a lot of hopefullys there…

Hayley’s weekend wagers: Clarcam, Pont Alexandre, Goonyella, Many Clouds, Special Tiara