Sport

Djakadam impresses in Punchestown success

Djakadam ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last to win The John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Steeplechase
Djakadam ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last to win The John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Steeplechase

Last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam made an impressive start to the new campaign with a runaway victory in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

A brilliant display under top-weight in January's Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park earned the six-year-old a shot at the blue riband in March and he ran a fantastic race to beat all bar Coneygree in the Prestbury Park showpiece.

Making his first appearance since chasing home Don Cossack in the Punchestown Gold Cup the following month, Willie Mullins' charge was the 7-4 favourite for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade One and after briefly tracking 2012 winner Flemenstar, he was soon bowling along at the head of affairs.

Djakadam jumped well throughout and a bold leap at the final fence before the home turn saw him open up a gap on the rest of the field.

Stable companion Valseur Lido gave chase in the straight, but could never get on terms with Ruby Walsh's mount, who passed the post 12 lengths to the good.

Paddy Power trimmed Djakadam to 8-1 from 10-1 to go one better in what promises to be enthralling Cheltenham Gold Cup next spring.