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  1. #1
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012

    Douvan Supreme winner now Arkle Favourite


    Today, I head to Punchestown for three rides, with Douvan, in a Grade 2 novice hurdle, obviously the big one.

    The ex-French horse now has a big reputation, after winning on his Irish debut at Gowran Park by 12 lengths.

    Douvanís Gowran Park win has worked out well with second-placed Sizing John winning the Paddy Power Future Novices Champion at Leopardstown. Even McKinley Ė who was pulled up in that contest Ė came out and won at Naas last Sunday so the form looks solid.

    He is a big frame of a horse and always looks fit, despite the fact that Willie Mullins does not get stuck into him.

    In that way, he reminds me of Faugheen last season, who was also brought along slowly and calmly by Willie.

    Iím not for a second trying to say Douvan is the next Faugheen, itís just that physically there are similarities.

    Anyway, I was very taken by Douvan at Gowran, Paul Townend rode, and have to be reasonably confident will make this step up in class. I do think, though, this is a horse that will greatly benefit from a summerís grass.
    Last edited by Old Vic; 23rd November 2015 at 09:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Last edited by Old Vic; 11th January 2015 at 08:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Morning Glory
    Already at the head of the betting for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March after impressing on his Irish debut at Gowran, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old passed his latest test with flying colours.

    Sent off the 1-3 favourite, the Rich Ricci-owned gelding was never out of second gear under Ruby Walsh, who sat in fourth through the early stages before cantering to the front hard on the bridle coming to the last. Having safely negotiated that, he cruised home from Alpha Des Obeaux.

    Mullins said: "He did that nicely. He jumped and galloped and did everything that he does at home. He does things very easy.

    "That race on paper looked stronger than the one Vautour won last year. I don't think ground or trip make any difference to him, and I'd imagine he'll go straight to Cheltenham now."

    Walsh added: "He did it very well. He travelled well, he jumped super. They were probably stayers he beat but they're decent enough horses, it was a good performance. He has the size and scope to be a beautiful horse next year - when he fills into his frame, he'll be some horse.

    "He has a lot of natural ability and hopefully we can keep him right and going the right way and get him to Cheltenham in one piece.

    "He was very professional with his jumping and travelled beautifully, settled lovely, quickened up the little bit when he had to - it was hard to knock it.

    "He's a very good horse. I'd say you could go any trip with him, two, two and a half - I doubt you'd have to go the Albert Bartlett, but either of the other two (Supreme and Neptune) wouldn't bother me."

    RaceBets cut Douvan to 5-2 favourite from 4-1 for the Supreme, and to 4-1 market leader from 10s for the Neptune.

    Spokesman Joseph Burke said: "Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci are treading a similar path with Douvan as they did with Vautour last season.

    "Douvan was far more impressive than Vautour in winning the Moscow Flyer and when you consider that Vautour went on to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, it is no surprise that Douvan is now the clear favourite to follow in his stablemate's hoofprints."

    Betfred trimmed Douvan to 3-1 from 5-1 for the Supreme, leaving him unchanged at 6-1 favourite for the longer Neptune. Paddy Power quote him as 3-1 favourite from 4-1 joint-favourite for the Supreme.

  4. #4
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012

    Other reaction


    Last edited by Old Vic; 11th January 2015 at 09:54 AM.

  5. #5
    Morning Glory
    Earlier Run

  6. #6
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012

    Trainer Willie Mullins described Douvan as being "as good as we have ever had" after the brilliant six-year-old strolled home to win the Grade 1 Herald Champion Novice Hurdle by seven and a half lengths on the opening day of the 2015 Punchestown Festival.

    The French-bred, winner of last month's Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, justified 1/6 favouritism as he cruised home under Ruby Walsh.

    "Douvan could be anything. He is way more efficient jumping than Faugheen ever was or is and from a novice that is extraordinary," said Mullins.

    "I can't wait to get him over a fence, but we will have to talk to connections and see what we do. Rich [Ricci, owner] obviously has Faugheen for the Champion Hurdle and it is a nice problem to have.

    "I felt Douvan was as good today as he was at Cheltenham. Just watching him hurdling, at some of them he was barely coming off the ground. He just bent his legs and landed at the far side. Every time Ruby gave him a squeeze he picked up and went on about his business.

    "I think Douvan is as good as we have ever had. Looking at him, he is not a Hurricane Fly type really. He is more of a Mikael D'Haguenet type and, although he didn't go on over fences, that was for other reasons and I think Douvan will.

    "I'd imagined that he'd go chasing but seeing that performance makes you think he could stay hurdling.

    "He is nearly 17 hands and still a big, immature horse so it's all the more impressive that he can still do that. Every time something comes up the gallops with him, he goes quicker and he is a big horse that will get stronger. He's keeps getting better - in October I thought he was a good horse but not like that."

  7. #7
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    from Donn

    Douvan dilemma

    You know this dilemma that Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci have? Keep Douvan to hurdles and target the Champion Hurdle with him next year, send him there with the reigning champ Faugheen, keep them apart until Cheltenham, or go chasing?

    You can plot the respective courses. You could go the 2014/15 route with Faugheen (well, it worked didn’t it?): Ascot Hurdle, Christmas Hurdle, Cheltenham, Punchestown. You could add something in there between December and March if you wanted, something like the Kingwell Hurdle or the Red Mills Hurdle. On the other hand, if it ain’t broke …

    You could go the Irish route with Douvan, the Hurricane Fly route. Morgiana Hurdle, Ryanair Hurdle, Irish Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham, Punchestown. If you wanted, you could dovetail with Arctic Fire’s campaign, or you could plan a different campaign with him that could include the Bula Hurdle or the new Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial or even the Betfair Hurdle, if you were so inclined.

    Of course, the obvious alternative is to send Douvan chasing, send him on for the job for which he was bred and bought, target the Arkle.

    Douvan looks like a chaser for sure, he is tall, almost 17 hands said Willie on Tuesday. He has a frame into which he still has to grow a little. But he is athletic. He flicked through his hurdles on Tuesday like a greyhound flicks through the brushes that they sometimes put on the track in front of him. He barely broke stride. Watching him race down the far side through binoculars, you weren’t sure that they hadn’t forgotten to put the hurdles back between the wings after the bumper from February’s meeting.

    There is another option: keep Douvan over hurdles and send Faugheen over fences. It may not make sense on one level, changing tack with a Champion Hurdle winner (ref: ‘if it ain’t broke’ above) and starting again. It might be up there with Padraig Harrington changing his swing after winning The Open.

    But on another level, Faugheen is also made for chasing. Indeed, if you had been betting before Punchestown last year on whether he or Vautour would go over fences, you would have bet odds-on Faugheen, odds-against Vautour. Also, crucially, wouldn’t it be a serious objective, for a man who has achieved most of the things that a National Hunt trainer can achieve, for a man who is pushing bars higher all over the place every day that he makes an entry, to plan for the Gold Cup with a Champion Hurdle winner?

    Faugheen won his only point-to-point and he won a Grade 3 hurdle over three miles on heavy ground. He has an unusual profile for a Champion Hurdle winner. He is a Champion Hurdle winner with the profile of a staying chaser.

    Faugheen is still only seven. He will be nine by the time the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup rolls around, all going well, and that is still not too old for a Gold Cup horse. He could have two seasons’ worth of experience over fences under his belt by then if the plan was hatched over the next few months.

    The Paddy Mullins-trained Dawn Run is still the only horse to win a Champion Hurdle and a Gold Cup. It would be fitting if the mare’s trainer’s son could be the next trainer to achieve the feat

  8. #8
    Professional Fat Jockey (Moderator) Istabraq's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Interesting comments there re Faugheen's profile from Donn.
    He has won a PTP over 3m but they won't have been 'racing' for 3m so personally I wouldn't take his staying ability as a given, he could of course prove me completely wrong but I have a strong view that the Gold Cup has become a war of attrition and only genuine stayers can win the race - Silviniaco Conti anyone ? Awesome over 3m and almost unbeatable but that extra 2.5f and a hill always find the horse out.
    The only horse I see beating Faugheen in a Champion hurdle is Douvan such is the speed, fluency over hurdles and ability to change gears the horse possesses, it's the embarrassment of riches that the Ricci's have that leaves them with some serious decisions.....

  9. #9
    Fat Jockey (ridden out claim) Liam301287's Avatar
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    Jan 2015

    Donovan Jlt or Arkle after that 1st run over fences

    I have had a few quid on the Jlt before today. What every one make of that run today. Which race you reckon Dovan will go for?

  10. #10
    Arkle betting suggests that's where the bookies think he'll go, 6/4 now with 365

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