Douvan may be back at Punchestown

Mullins chaser has been beset by injury

  • Thursday 11 April
  • News
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Douvan could make his return from injury in the BoyleSports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival later this month.

The nine-year-old has been out of luck over the last two seasons, limited to just two starts last term because a leg injury before a tendon problem was then detected last November.

He has not raced since finishing second behind stablemate Un De Sceaux in this two-mile race last year, but Douvan could form part of a strong team for trainer Willie Mullins.

Un De Sceaux, Great Field and Cheltenham disappointment Footpad are all in the mix, along with last week’s impressive Aintree victor Min.

Mullins said: “Douvan started his fast work this week and then we’ll see how he progresses between now and Punchestown, but it would be nice if we could get him back there.

“Great Field is back and seems to be in good form in himself, so if we can get him to Punchestown we’ll be doing our best to do that.

“Min should be fine after Aintree. That was a very pleasing performance from him last week.

“Footpad has disappointed us this season, and we will monitor him because things just haven’t gone right for him. We’ll keep an eye on his progress but we are happy to let them all take their chance at Punchestown if we can.”

God’s Own won the race for Tom George three years ago and could try his luck again, while Champion Chase fourth Hell’s Kitchen also features among 15 contenders.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil is one of three Cheltenham Festival winners among the entries for the Grade One Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Chase, along with A Plus Tard and Any Second Now.

The JLT Novices’ Chase hero was ruled out of an intended run at Aintree last week after suffering a minor setback, but Hobbs is keeping his options open for another outing.

“Defi Du Seuil is grand and has a couple of options in Ireland,” said Hobbs.

“We’ve entered him in Punchestown, and he is also in (at Fairyhouse) on Easter Sunday. He’s in good form, and it was very much a help to see Colin’s (Tizzard) horse, Lostintranslation, winning at Aintree last week. I’m happy with him at the moment.”

Delta Work, Getabird and Winter Escape are other notable entries – along with Kim Bailey’s Vinndication.

The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle is the first Grade One race of the Festival and could feature a clash between Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Klassical Dream and Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten hurdler Champagne Platinum, with a total of 20 horses entered for the April 30 event.

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