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Down Royal Festival winner Don Cossack tipped for more success

By Frank Brownlow

Down Royal Festival winner Don Cossack is favourite for Sunday's Grade One John Durkin Memorial Chase at Punchestown - despite Lord Windermere and Boston Bob being in the line-up.

Lord Windermere won this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Boston Bob - third in the Down Royal Festival feature, the JNwine.com Champion Chase - triumphed in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

But Don Cossack - winner of the Grade Two Powers Irish Whiskey Chase at the Down Royal Festival last month - is 5-4 favourite for Sunday's £70,000 showdown, just ahead of Boston Bob, third in the Maze feature behind Road To Riches.

Don Cossack had a Grade Three success at Punchestown a fortnight ahead of victory at Down Royal.

Lord Windermere has not run since his Cheltenham Gold Cup heroics in March and is available at 10-1.

That absence is not a concern for his trainer Jim Culloty who is more worried about the 2m4f trip.

"The horse is fit and well and while two and a half miles is a slightly inadequate trip, we are hoping for a good run to kick off his campaign this season," he said.

A total of nine contenders remain in Sunday's feature with the likes of First Lieutenant, Baily Green and Rathlin still in the mix for a race won by Kicking King, Beef Or Salmon and Florida Pearl in recent years.

Pineau De Re will not run over fences again before he defends his crown in the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree next April.

The 11-year-old was a 25-1 winner of the world's most famous race last spring and his entire campaign is being geared around a return to Merseyside.

The veteran finished tailed off on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles at Cheltenham last month.

He is likely to turn out again at Carlisle on Sunday week before the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, a race in which he was a close third last year.

Belfast Telegraph

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