Willie Mullins will make a decision on Douvan running in Saturday’s Tingle Creek Chase at declaration time, but whoever priced him at 4/1 and 5/1 ante-post was mad in the head anyway.
He’s the odds on favourite for the Champion Chase, is unbeaten since he joined us in Closutton, and we’ve never made any secret of how highly we rate him and the reigning champ Sprinter Sacre was retired a few weeks ago.
Gary Moore’s Ar Mad put in a hell of a performance here last year, but hasn’t run since February after getting injured, while his stable-mate Sire De Grugy is rising 11 in a month’s time. Most of the others are also more exposed.
If the bookmakers decided for some reason to price Douvan like he wasn’t going to run, that’s their problem. Not ours. I expect him to run a big race if he takes part, but I also expect Un De Sceaux to do the same if he runs.
Don’t forget Willie Mullins entered both at the initial entry stage and hadn’t said anything to contradict that, before the bookies’ alarm bells started ringing yesterday.
We’d a good weekend at Gowran Park and Navan as things start to rock and roll. Belshill and Invitation Only did it very well on Saturday as they were expected too. It should be onwards and upwards for both and we’ll be hoping there’s some Christmas targets we can aim them at.
Battleford was disappointing at Navan on Sunday. He got really outpaced early in the straight but was outpaced before that with five or six furlongs to run. When they upped the ante, they left me for dead. He seemed to lack pace, but he was working at home with more pace than he showed on Sunday and I don’t know why that was the case.
You can’t dismiss any horse after one sub-standard effort and I’d be willing to give him another chance.
Min was very good. He was very precise in his jumping and it was a very good start. But he’s going to face some serious battles in his career both from at home and from across the water, particularly with Altior. The Racing Post Chase at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day has been penciled in as his next target.
Thistlecrack was brilliant again at Newbury on Saturday, as was Native River who was very tough in the Hennessy. He looked to me to be dossing in front. He still has to improve another 7lbs or so to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup but Colin Tizzard certainly holds all the aces with these two and Cue Card at this stage of the season.
One that was perhaps less expected was Unowhatimeanharry in the Long Distance Hurdle last Friday. He was very good, was a very good novice last year and for me sets the standard for the World Hurdle now after that win.
He’s been working well at home and jumps well and was a decent novice hurdler last year. If he converts that form to the larger obstacles he has to have a good chance in the opener.
Came from France and has a penalty for winning on the Flat. Has worked well and schooled well at home. He’s a decent horse and we like him and are pretty hopeful he can win.
She won at Clonmel and should have improved for that run. She quickened up well to win and if I’m honest she surprised us a bit. And horses that surprise you are always the nice ones. Monbeg Rose reverts to timber after finishing fifth in a Beginners Chase at Wexford last time and looks the danger.
Second at Fairyhouse to Avenir D’Une Vie on his debut and should come on from the experience. I thought leaving the track that he would be hard to beat on his next run and hopefully that will be the case on Thursday.