Douvan ‘not far away’ from return

Douvan is “not far away” from returning to action after being entered in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Douvan ‘not far away’ from return

Willie Mullins had initially ruled the star chaser out for the season when he was forced to miss the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

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

“He’ll have to work again later in the week, but he’s not far away now,” said assistant trainer Patrick Mullins.

“He is entered and he’s been in good form, but we’re just taking it day by day and stepping him up gradually, but it’s so far so good.

“When the vets looked at him just after Christmas, they were surprised how well he was and they gave us the go-ahead to build him up gradually and so far there’s been no problems.”

Douvan is one of 10 entries for the Red Mills along with stablemates 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, who 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.

In the Red Mills Trial Hurdle, Mullins has entered Bacardys, Abbyssial, Lagostovegas and Pravalaguna among 12.

Gordon Elliott’s Grade One winner Mick Jazz could be stepped up in trip, with stablemates Tombstone and The Game Changer in the mix along with Henry de Bromhead’s Identity Thief.

Meanwhile Vroum Vroum Mag will work later in the week before connections consider running in the Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle on Sunday.

The nine-year-old has not been sighted since finishing lame at the Punchestown Festival in April and retirement had been mentioned for the versatile mare, who is trained by Willie Mullins.

“She’s back in training after she got injured at Punchestown last year,” said assistant trainer Patrick Mullins.

“We’ve had to bring her back very slowly as she’s a valuable broodmare now.

“She is entered at the weekend and will have to work later in the week to see where we are at then.”

Mullins has also entered Augusta Kate, Bacardys, Bapaume and Let’s Dance among the 10 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 Sir Mark Prescott but only fifth on his hurdling debut behind Next Destination.

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