Min wins the John Durkan

Won by the likes of Rubi Light, Don Cossack, Djakdam, Sizing John and Min in recent years, the John Durkan is a race that is usually taken by a star. It’s unlikely to be any different in 2021, with lots of high class entries vying for the prize. Both Matt Newman and Owen Goulding give their views on the Grade 1 contest. 


“He simply oozes class”

You need to be a classy horse to win this contest and shocks are rare. I won’t be going with an outsider in this year’s John Durkan, because Fakir D’oudairies is too difficult to get away from. Joseph O’Brien’s six-year-old enjoyed a strong campaign last term, including Grade 1 success at Aintree in the Marsh.

He looked better than ever on return in the Clonmel Oil, jumping with aplomb and galloping his rivals into the floor. This is tougher, but he remains unexposed at this 2m 4f trip, which on all known evidence, is seemingly his optimum, and he’s a proven performer at this level. Ground versatile and exceptionally consistent, he can continue his march towards the Ryanair with another victory. – Owen Goulding


“He could hardly have been more impressive”

I have to agree with Owen, Fakir D’oudairies looks the one to beat. He was spectacular when landing the Melling Chase at Aintree in the spring, failing to get home when three miles was tried here at the Festival.

This is a far stronger field than he faces in the Clonmel Oil Chase last time out but he could hardly have been more impressive, coming clear under minimal pressure to put fifteen lengths between himself and his rivals by the time the winning line came.

He is a more reliable proposition than Envoi Allen at present and Allaho was thrashed out of sight in this race last season on his seasonal debut, tending to come on for the run. As such, Joseph O’Brien’s charge can continue to perform right at the top of his game – Matt Newman


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