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2018 John Durkan Memorial Chase tips - 11/4 shot to Shatter her rival's dreams at Punchestown

Jonathan Vine 7 Dec 2018
Jack Kennedy riding Shattered Love to victory in the JLT Novice Chase at Cheltenham.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for this Grade One at Punchestown on Sunday and provides readers with his expert tips.

Punchestown picks up where Kempton left off on Sunday, with a top-quality field of chasers expected to take part in the John Durkan Memorial Chase. Since it was added to the Irish jumps calendar in 1968, this two-and-a-half-mile chase has been won by some of Ireland’s best horses, with Gold Cup winners Captain Christy, Dawn Run, Kicking King and Sizing John featuring on the glittering roll of honour.

After my original selection came out of the running today, I've taken a look through the confirmed line up in the 2018 John Durkan and provided readers with my tips.

9/12/18 2:00pm Punchestown John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f



Heading the current ante-post betting is Willie Mullins’ Min (5/4 Betfair), who endured an up-and-down campaign last season. Rich Ricci’s charge claimed hugely impressive wins over this trip at Gowran Park and over two miles in the Grade Two Dublin Chase. It was a different story, however, in the spring, as Min was beaten by Altior and Politologue at Cheltenham and Aintree respectively, before really struggling for pace as Un De Sceaux won the Champion Chase here at Punchestown.

Gordon Elliott’s attack on this year’s John Durkan will be led by Shattered Love (11/4 Ladbrokes), who made a pleasing reappearance at Down Royal when finishing second behind Snow Falcon. Elliott may think his JLT winner may be suited by the trip in the Gold Cup and she has won a Grade One over three miles. Yet, the way she travelled at Cheltenham make you think two-and-a-half-miles is her ideal trip and she will be a big danger to the market leaders if entered. 

The Storyteller (12/1 Paddy Power) finished fifth at Down Royal, after struggling to keep pace with the leaders over this shorter trip. Davy Russell didn't ask him too many questions that day, as last year's fortunate Growise winner cantered over the line a long way behind the leader. While I do still think he's open to improvement, there are others who appeal more over stiff two-and-a-half miles.

Balko Des Flos (4/1 Ladbrokes) was exposed over three miles on his reappearance in the JNWine Champion Chase, finishing fourth as Road To Respect announced his Gold Cup ambitions. Henry de Bromhead’s stable star should be much more comfortable over this trip, yet I’m not convinced the Ryanair winner is of true Grade One class, despite that comfortable victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

The final entrant in this year's John Durkan is Joseph O'Brien's Edwulf (16/1 Paddy Power), who hit the headlines last season when claiming a surprise victory in the Irish Gold Cup in February. O'Brien's miracle horse has a course-and-distance victory to his name, but Edwulf looks to have progressed into more of a dour staying type and this could be just a lung-opener before heading to the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown.

Min is clearly a very high-quality chaser, but he has shown himself to be vulnerable during his time over fences, winning just two of his six starts last season. So, with the favourite offering little appeal, the door could be open for SHATTERED LOVE to prove her quality over two-and-a-half miles once again.

Gordon Elliott's mare was one of the best-backed horses of the entire Cheltenham Festival and she rewarded her supporters handsomely with a dominant victory in the RSA. A narrow defeat to Al Boum Photo followed at Fairyhouse, before Shattered Love was well beaten in that incident-packed renewal of the Growise.

Jack Kennedy's mount drifted before the off ahead of her reappearance, but Shattered Love still ran a nice race to finish within two lengths of the the race-fit Snow Falcon. Elliott has been very pleased with his mare's progress since then and I fancy Shattered Love will have Min's and Balko Des Flos' number in the John Durkan this weekend.


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2018 John Durkan Memorial Chase tips - 11/4 shot to Shatter her rival's dreams at Punchestown

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for this Grade One at Punchestown on Sunday 9th December and provides readers with his expert tips.

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