Racing: Jodami's odds in Irish enigma

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THE DECLARATIONS and odds for Sunday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown, released yesterday, present a puzzle. Though the principal threat to Jodami, the best chaser on either side of the water, might seem to be a wildcat strike by Dublin air-traffic control, he is available at 6-4 against. To see off much stronger opposition and retain the Cheltenham Gold Cup next month, however, he is only 2-1.

The bookmakers are either being very generous about one event, or very mean about the other, and you do not need to be a certified cynic to guess which is the case. The major firms do not want to increase their Cheltenham liabilities over Jodami any further, and he will not represent value for the Gold Cup until, or unless, the on-course bookies try to 'get him' on the day.

None the less, the 6-4 for Sunday's race is a very fair price. Flashing Steel (best odds 5-1) and Deep Bramble (7-1) have almost 30lb to find on the book, and Chatam, a head second to Jodami in last year's race, is his only convincing rival. Force Seven (12-1), Cahervillahow (16-1) and Gold Options (50-1) will complete a seven-runner field.

Mark Dwyer, Jodami's jockey, has recovered from a bad fall at Nottingham on Tuesday and will ride at Edinburgh today, while Richard Dunwoody, who will be aboard Chatam on Sunday, will not lack for confidence after partnering his 100th winner of the season at Leicester yesterday, taking him to within 14 winners of Adrian Maguire in the title race.

Dunwoody reached three figures on the corresponding day last year, before taking his first championship with a personal best total of 173 winners. As he pointed out yesterday, 'it just shows what a phenomenal time Adrian achieved that he did it around Christmas'.

The speed with which a jockey's fortunes can change, however, was demonstrated at Hong Kong's Happy Valley yesterday. Mick Kinane, the Irish champion, rode a double in the card's opening events, but was unseated from his mount approaching the furlong pole in the third.

Kinane was trampled by several runners before managing to roll under the rail. He was taken to hospital, where several ribs were found to be broken. He will be unable to ride for several weeks, but many spectators felt that Kinane was fortunate to escape more serious injury.

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