Monday 10 December 2018

Mullins boost as star duo in line for return

Douvan will attract huge interest when he runs in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Douvan will attract huge interest when he runs in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Willie Mullins could be line for a perfect pre-Cheltenham fillip at the weekend with two of his big guns pencilled in for a welcome return to action.

Star chaser Douvan is one of 10 entries for the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday, while versatile mare Vroum Vroum Mag has an entry in Sunday's Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan.

Mullins had initially ruled Douvan out for the season when he was forced to miss the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, deciding on a "conservative approach" to his recovery.

However, the noises have been much more positive of late following veterinary reports and Douvan has been given an entry for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, having not run since being pulled up there last March.

Owner Rich Ricci said last month it was "50-50" he would make Cheltenham, adding: "I'm hopeful he will make the Festival, but everything has to go right. At the moment, it is all systems go."

Mullins has also entered Bellshill and Ballycasey.

As expected, Jessica Harrington has given last season's Irish Grand National winner Our Duke the option following his encouraging run in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown behind Edwulf.

Prior to that he had only been seen once this term, at Down Royal in November when it transpired he was suffering from a kissing spine.

Pat Kelly's smart novice Presenting Percy, which is favourite for the RSA Insurance Chase, is also a possible. along with A Toi Phil, Ball D'Arc, Valseur Lido, Sumos Novios and Val De Ferbert.

Vroum Vroum Mag, meanwhile, has not been sighted since finishing lame at the Punchestown Festival in April and retirement had been mentioned for the nine-year-old mare.


Mullins has also entered Augusta Kate, Bacardys, Bapaume and Let's Dance for the Grade Two over two miles and five furlongs. Gordon Elliott has three possibles in Diamond Cauchois, Lieutenant Colonel and Tiger Roll.

There are nine possibles for the Ten Up Novice Chase, headed by the Elliott four of Jury Duty, Monbeg Notorious, Mossback and Dounikos.

Noel Meade's Moulin A Vent and Mullins' Bonbon Au Miel, C'est Jersey and Livelovelaugh are in the mix, too.

Another possible runner on the card is Elliott's Pallasator in the maiden hurdle, formerly a smart stayer on the Flat with Mark Prescott but only fifth on his hurdling debut behind Next Destination.

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