Douvan the star name among Hilly Way dozen

Douvan is the star name among 12 entries for the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday.

The brilliant six-year-old is unbeaten in 10 starts since joining Willie Mullins including seven Grade One victories.

He won at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown last spring and considering he is already odds-on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Prestbury Park next March, he is likely to be a very warm order if making his seasonal reappearance in this weekend’s Grade Two contest.

Mullins has also entered Black Hercules, who has not been seen since also claiming Cheltenham gold in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

Both horses are also still in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.

The only British-trained contenders are Kerry Lee’s pair of Top Gamble and Grey Gold. Other possible runners include Fine Rightly, Gilgamboa and The Game Changer.

Grade Three honours are up for grabs in the Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle and the Kerry Group European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Chase.

Mullins has won the last two renewals of the hurdle race with Black Hercules and Gangster and his only possible runner in this year’s renewal is Screaming Rose.

The champion trainer claimed the mares’ novice chase with Vroum Vroum Mag a couple of years ago and his three contenders this time are Daisy’s Gift, Listen Dear and Westerner Lady.

Meanwhile Djakadam and Douvan headline 13 possible runners in Sunday’s John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

Djakadam was a brilliant winner of the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One contest 12 months ago before going on to fill the runner-up spot in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the second year in succession.

The seven-year-old appears likely to be Willie Mullins’ main hope again this weekend as while the brilliant Douvan remains in contention, the champion trainer has suggested the Hilly Way Chase at Cork on the same afternoon is his probably starting point for the campaign.

Mullins has also left in Alechi Inois and Black Hercules, with the latter also entered for the Hilly Way.

The only British-trained horse still in the mix is Kerry Lee’s Kylemore Lough, who won the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse back in March.


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