Douvan heading straight to Cheltenham after skipping weekend engagement

Fri 16 Feb 2018
2017 Cheltenham Festival - Ladies Day - Cheltenham Racecourse Douvan has not run since running below-par at Cheltenham almost a year ago (PA)

Douvan is set to head straight to the Cheltenham Festival after Willie Mullins decided against running his long-absent stable star in Saturday's Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

The eight-year-old, who has not been seen on the track since suffering a shock defeat and injury in last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase, was initially ruled out of the current campaign after he was forced to miss the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, with Mullins deciding on a "conservative approach" to his recovery.

Noises have been far more positive of late, however, and Douvan received a surprise entry in this weekend's Grade Two feature at the champion trainer's local track.

He was not declared on Friday morning, but is reported to be in good form and on course to make his long-awaited return at Prestbury Park next month.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "Douvan is fine and we've decided to go straight to Cheltenham. We just felt we could prepare him better at home."

Douvan is a best priced 9-2 to dispel the nightmare of last season in the Champion Chase, while he is around 8-1 for the longer Ryanair Chase, for which he also holds an entry.

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