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Mullins happy with jumping Djak

Willie Mullins has dismissed any fears about Djakadam's jumping ahead of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The six-year-old burst on to the Gold Cup scene at a relatively late stage, booking his ticket with a comfortable eight-length triumph under top weight in the Thyestes Chase at the end of January.

He had previously disappointed when only eighth in the Hennessy at Newbury, while he crashed out at the fourth-last in last year's JLT Novices' Chase at the Festival.

Trainer Willie Mullins said: " I don't think jumping is going to be an issue any more than it will be for any other horse in the race.

"He got around Newbury three-quarters fit and Gowran is a fair test of any horse in that ground.

"As Ruby (Walsh) said, normally in the Thyestes in those conditions you're hanging on from four out if you think you have something left, but he was swinging and the rest were slogging in behind.

"Because of the dry autumn we didn't get a run into him and much less, I didn't get the work I wanted into him. We ended up at Newbury because we got carried along ourselves and he had the weight advantage.

"You have to ask those questions sometimes, but it really wasn't a fair question to ask the horse with the sort of prep he'd had. I'm putting a line through that."

Owner Rich Ricci is also sweet on his runner's chance, but admits to having a slight doubt about him seeing out the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile trip.

He said: "My only niggle at the back of my mind is, will he stay?

"I f the Gold Cup was three miles I'd be leaning in and saying, 'Wow, what a great chance we have', but that last two and a half furlongs is so gruelling up the hill. It's my only niggle.

"That being said, Willie loves the horse, Ruby loves the horse and he's in great order."

Mullins also runs last year's second On His Own and Boston Bob.

Last year's winner Lord Windermere has failed to shine since his short-head success, finishing third in the John Durkan Chase and seventh in the Lexus before showing a slight return to form for trainer Jim Culloty when third in the Irish Hennessy.

Owner Dr Ronan Lambe said: "I suspect he might be the forgotten horse of the race because the lead-up to the race was better than last year. We are expecting a big run."

Big-race jockey Davy Russell also believes his mount has every chance of regaining his best form.

He said: "I genuinely wouldn't swap him for anything, he's a proper horse and loves Cheltenham.

"I know his form is not ideal, but he doesn't really handle soft ground and he's not in love with Leopardstown as there's not enough jumping in the race."

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