Willie Mullins’ star chaser Douvan is likely to make his seasonal reappearance in the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday week after skipping the Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown tomorrow.
Having entered both Douvan and Un De Sceaux for the Grade One on Saturday ante-post punters had been trying to guess all week which one might run, and having earlier been available at 5-1 Douvan’s price collapsed to 4-7 at one stage.
The pair then moved closer together in the market before declaration time at 10am when it was confirmed to be Un De Sceaux, and not Douvan, who would represent Mullins.
“It was an easy enough decision to make, it was probably Un De Sceaux all the time as he’s used to travelling to France and the UK, while Douvan is only a novice going into Grade One company against horses who are well used to running in Grade Ones,” Mullins told At The Races.
“I had him (Douvan) in the race, but unless he was really sparkling I wasn’t going to send him and when I worked him he didn’t do enough for me for a big test like that, it’s early enough in the season.
“The ideal race for Un De Sceaux would have been the Hilly Way, but Douvan will go there now.
“I just want to get Douvan back and we’ll take it one race at a time.”
Gary Moore is running his two stable stars, two-time Tingle Creek winner Sire De Grugy and Ar Mad, who had his promising novice season cut short by injury.
Tom George is represented by God’s Own, another multiple Grade One winner, and his stablemate Sir Valentino, who produced a career-best last time out when successful in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Of God’s Own, the in-form George said: “I’m hoping we’ve got the fitness edge, Un De Sceaux and Ar Mad are having their first runs and Sire De Grugy is running back quite quickly. I wouldn’t swap mine”
Paul Nicholls put Vibrato Valtat back into the race after it was reoffered.
The sponsors make Un De Sceaux the 15-8 favourite, with Ar Mad 3-1, Sire De Grugy 100-30 and God’s Own 4-1.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved