Blogs & Opinion

Alex Hammond tips Flemenstar to land the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.

Blogs Posted 7th December 2012 view comments

Alex Hammond tips Flemenstar to edge out Sir Des Champs in Sunday's John Durkan Chase at Punchestown.

In Ireland, there is another potential thrilling head-to-head in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. It sees the clash of two top chasers, Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar. Flemenstar is Sky Bet's even-money favourite for this 2m4f Grade 1 and has the benefit of a win under his belt already this term. Peter Casey's star chaser was impressive in the Fortria Chase at Navan last month where he jumped particularly well. That was over two miles and I think his superior speed gives him another advantage over the 13/8 second-favourite.

Alex Hammond believes Flemenstar can land the John Durkan

Alex Hammond believes Flemenstar can land the John Durkan

Much was made of the fact that he will have improved for that run too and remember none of these top horses will be fully wound up at this stage of the season.

The Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs is unbeaten since joining Ireland's champion jumps trainer. He capped a magnificent season with a win in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase over 3m1f at Punchestown in April.

As far as the Gold Cup is concerned, I'd rather be on Sir Des Champs (and I've already backed him for the Cheltenham race for which he is currently 5/1 second fav). He looks the much more convincing stayer of the duo, whilst Flemenstar has bags of speed. I think that speed and the fact he has had a run this season could see Flemenstar edge it on Sunday and I won't be ripping up my antepost voucher if Sir Des Champs is beaten. Sir Des Champs is a lazy horse and he may need an outing or two to get him spot on for targets later in the season.

The International meeting takes place in Hong Kong on Sunday with plenty of British interest. Star attraction Cirrus Des Aigles has been ruled out by a ligament strain, but watch out for the likes of Carlton House (Cup), Sea Moon, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux (Vase) amongst others. I'll bring you the latest news and market movers ahead of the races on Sky Sports News on Saturday. Have a great weekend's racing.


Flemenstar in the John Durkan Memorial Chase @ Evs with Sky Bet

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....


Dewi Morris

Dewi: Ford's jersey to lose

George Ford only has himself to blame if he doesn't take this Six Nations opportunity, says Sky Sports' Dewi Morris....

Phil Clarke

It's Grand Final time!

Phil Clarke looks at previous finals between rivals Wigan and St Helens, but who does he think will win?...


Barry Cowan

Murray back to his best

Andy Murray's semi-final win over Tomas Berdych was almost a 'complete performance' says Barry Cowan....

Barry Cowan

Too tough to call

Andy Murray is in impressive form but Tomas Berdych is showing real class, says Barry Cowan....

Rod Harrington

Harrington: The best yet

Rod Harrington reflects on a thrilling World Darts Championship and reviews the Premier League picks....

Neal Foulds

Selby steel

New world champion Mark Selby's the master of match play, says Neal Foulds - but what's next for Ronnie?...


Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....


Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....


Kelvin Tatum

'Poole inspirational'

Kelvin Tatum reflects on the 'most exciting' season he can remember - and Poole Pirates' heroics......


Kelvin Tatum

Back on track

Lakeside can make it two wins over Belle Vue Aces in four days, says Kelvin Tatum, but it'll be close!...


Kelvin Tatum

Hit the road

Swindon are struggling this season but will fancy their chances at Birmingham, says Kelvin Tatum....