Watching Brief . . .
It was surprising but not unwelcome to hear Willie Mullins mention the Cotswold Chase as a possible target for Djakadam.
As a six-year-old about to turn seven with just eight runs over fences to his name, Djakadam remains a seriously progressive Gold Cup player.
The manner in which the March runner-up destroyed the opposition on his John Durkan Memorial Chase comeback confirmed that impression.
Skipping Christmas with him might prove wise, as it would mean turning out again three weeks later. The Hennessy Gold Cup is an option, but it would require a week longer wait and be a week closer to the Gold Cup.
The old Pillar Chase is on January 30 and was once considered the leading Gold Cup trial. In 1995 and 2000, Master Oats and Looks Like Trouble won it en route to glory, and See More Business might have done the double in 1998 but for being carried out in March.
Since then, the Cotswold Chase has gone out of fashion, with none of the leading contenders taking it in. That could be about to change, as Mullins has to explore all the options.