Mullins: Sandown too soon for Douvan
Willie Mullins' star chaser Douvan is likely to make his seasonal reappearance in the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday week after being ruled out of the Tingle Creek at Sandown tomorrow.
Having entered both Douvan and Un De Sceaux for the Grade One on Saturday, ante-post punters had been trying to guess all week which one might run and having earlier been available at 5/1 Douvan's price collapsed to 4/7 at one stage.
The pair then moved closer together in the market before declaration time at 10am yesterday when it was confirmed that Un De Sceaux, and not Douvan, would represent Mullins.
"It was an easy enough decision to make - it was probably Un De Sceaux all the time as he's used to travelling to France and the UK, while Douvan is only a novice going into Grade One company," explained Mullins.
"I had him (Douvan) in the race, but unless he was really sparkling I wasn't going to send him and when I worked him he didn't do enough for me for a big test like that. It's early enough in the season."
Meanwhile, Tully East made a successful debut over fences at a fog-shrouded Thurles yesterday as 8/15 favourite Bachasson fell at the final fence in the Killinan Beginners' Chase.
Bachasson, a classy novice hurdler last term, hit the front two out under Ruby Walsh, but his advantage didn't last long and he was headed by Tully East when coming down - just as Un De Sceaux did in this race two years ago.
Tully East, fourth at the Cheltenham Festival, looks a smart prospect for Alan Fleming and came home five-and-a-half lengths clear of A Sizing Network at odds of 7/2.
Mick The Jiver just got the better of the hat-trick-seeking Smadynium in a thrilling finish to the www.thurlesraces.ie Handicap Chase.
Monbeg Rose attempted to make every post a winning one in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Hurdle, but Mark Walsh was patient on Kalopsia and that paid dividends because Joseph O'Brien's 7/2 shot had more petrol in the tank and crossed the line with 11 lengths in hand.
Mullins' French recruit Riven Light lived up to the hype with a dominant performance in the Cahir Maiden Hurdle, while Aussie Reigns was slightly fortunate to complete a double for Mullins and Ruby Walsh by winning the Holycross Maiden Hurdle after Montana Belle clouted the last.