Cheltenham Festival: McCoy urges Walsh to pick Djakadam in big one

RUBY WALSH has been urged to ride Djakadam in Friday’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup by former champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy, who says stablemate Vautour has too many questions still to answer.
Walsh was aboard Djakadam when the now seven-year-old finished second to Coneygree in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, but says he will wait as long as possible before deciding which of the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned pair he partners this time around.
Vautour has long been a favourite of Walsh’s, but McCoy, who won the Gold Cup on Mr Mulligan and Synchronised, feels doubts over Vautour’s ability to stay the 3m2½f trip would lead him to opt to stay with Djakadam if he was given the choice.
“There’ll be a few interesting jockey decisions in the Gold Cup, but if I was in Ruby Walsh’s shoes I couldn’t ride Vautour,” wrote McCoy in his William Hill blog.
“I know he’s won twice at Cheltenham and he has been a fantastic horse but he’s never won over any further than 2m5f. He’s going up to the Gold Cup trip and he didn’t look like a stayer at Kempton to me [when second in the King George VI Chase].”
He added: “I know Ruby thinks Vautour is a machine, but there’s no point riding a machine if he doesn’t get the trip. Djakadam will definitely get the trip, so I would ride him instead.”
‘Tougher for Cooper’
Another jockey with a similar decision to make this week is Bryan Cooper, who will have to pick between Don Cossack and Don Poli in the Gold Cup.
McCoy, who rode Don Cossack to win the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree last year, said: “Bryan Cooper’s decision is probably more difficult [than Ruby Walsh’s, because Don Poli has won twice at Cheltenham Festival and was a good winner of the RSA last year.
“Don Cossack has been to the Cheltenham Festival twice and not performed but I would ride him. He’s a classier horse, has a bit more tactical speed and he looks to have the stamina as well.”

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