Mullins Upbeat On Douvan's Cheltenham Chances
Trainer Willie Mullins has issued an upbeat update on Douvan's fitness, claiming the eight-year-old now has a "better than 50-50" chance of running in the Queen Mother Champion Chase next month.
Douvan had been ruled out for the season by Mullins' in November but it's since transpired that the setback was not as bad as first feared - with owner Rich Ricci remaining hopeful of a return to action at the festival.
It had been hoped the former Ryanair Novice Steeplechase winner would get a preparation run at Gowran Park earlier this month and Carlow handler Mullins admits it's not ideal to not have had a preparation race ahead of Cheltenham.
"Douvan is doing everything right. He has a good few bits of work to do this week and he has to go for the Champion Chase, all being well. So far all is well.
"If the Gowran race was anywhere else I wouldn't have entered, but it was beside us and if it cut up to three runners I might have been tempted. But when I saw the heavy ground I wasn't keen.
"If he'd had a hard race or anything went wrong then he wouldn't be ready and I felt I could train him better at home.
"His work is certainly good enough at the moment. I don't know if he'll have a racecourse gallop. He's been away a couple of times already but it's day to day at the moment.
"It's better than 50-50 but he's got some hard work to do. It's a concern he hasn't had a run but that's what we've got to do so we'll have to live with it."