Saturday 27 May 2017

Willie Mullins reveals what Ruby Walsh told him after Douvan's dramatic Champion Chase defeat

Naas , Ireland - 5 February 2017; Jockey Ruby Walsh, left, in conversation with trainer Willie Mullins after sending out Douvan to win the BoyleSports Tied Cottage Steeplechase at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, Co. Kildare. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Naas , Ireland - 5 February 2017; Jockey Ruby Walsh, left, in conversation with trainer Willie Mullins after sending out Douvan to win the BoyleSports Tied Cottage Steeplechase at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, Co. Kildare. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

The world of national hunt racing was left dumbfounded after Douvan retreated badly and failed to justify his 2/9 favourtie's price in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Douvan's owner Rich Ricci was the first man to leave the parade ring, closely followed by Willie Mullins.

A clearly dejected Ruby Walsh spoke to them briefly before briskly walking to the weighroom.

Read more: Punter reportedly loses €575,000 on Willie Mullins' Douvan one day after winning a €460,000 bet

It was another Champion Chase triumph for Henry de Bromhead as Special Tiara swatted away all challengers for a huge Irish win but the real story was Douvan's flat performance.

Speaking afterwards, Willie Mullins told us the concerns Ruby Walsh had after the race.

"We're all disappointed that this happened. Now my main job is to figure out what is wrong and how long it will take to fix," he said.

"It's disappointing but I don't think we were unlucky in any race yesterday.

Read more: Disaster for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh as hot favourite Douvan upset by Special Tiara in Champion Chase

"Today, Bacardys was nearly brought down and I don't think we were unlucky with any of the Coral Cup horses. That's what they are and they ran like they are.

"This fella is a big disappointment.

"One thing he (Ruby) said to me is that he wasn't moving well behind. I don't know whether that was after he jumped or during the race when he was pulling up. That's what he said to me.

"He just didn't feel 100pc. He wasn't moving well behind."

Douvan simply didn't jump with the fluency everyone has come to expect, and Mullins believes he may have injured himself by over-reaching.

"When they jump like that, they can injure themselves. It puts a huge strain on a horse that size. He put in two or three of those and I'd say he must have done something and it takes a lot out of a horse to do that in a Championship race," he added.

"I'm well use to dealing with it (disappointed) but just not at that level with that type of horse. We'll just go back and find out what's wrong."

It was Douvan's first defeat in 14 runs for Willie Mullins and the racing world is eagerly awaiting an explanation for his desperately disappointing run.

Mullins added: "I think he probably pulled something, maybe a muscle or a ligament."

Walsh said: "We were beaten a long way out, he didn't jump well. He didn't feel right and he never got going."

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