Sunday 15 September 2019

Injury-plagued Douvan could make surprise reappearance at Punchestown Festival

Douvan, on the way to winning the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown in 2016 under Ruby Walsh. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / Sportsfile
Douvan, on the way to winning the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown in 2016 under Ruby Walsh. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Douvan could be set for a surprise return at the Punchestown Festival (April 30 to May 4) after Willie Mullins reported the injury-plagued star to be back doing "fast work".

The exciting nine-year-old – described by Mullins as the best he has trained – looked likely to miss the whole of this season due a pastern problem but he has returned quicker than expected.

Douvan has had a frustrating career and missed a full year after his shock defeat in the 2017 Champion Chase at Cheltenham before returning 12 months later and falling when travelling sweetly in the two-mile showpiece.

He was subsequently runner-up to stable companion Un De Sceaux in the BoyleSports Champion Chase at the 2018 Punchestown Festival but the son of Walk In The Park hasn't been seen on the racecourse since then.

It looks like he could return for this year's renewal of the Grade One €300,000 BoyleSports Champion Chase, however, with champion trainer Mullins holding a strong hand as Aintree winner Min, Footpad and the returning Great Field are also possible runners.

“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," Mullins said.

"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. Footpad has disappointed us this season and we will monitor him as 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.”

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Selection dilemma for Dublin and All-Ireland ladies football final preview

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport