Douvan To Get Off To A Flyer At Punchestown
Trainer, Willie Mullins, has bypassed a number of recent engagements with his potential star hurdler, Douvan, but may finally let him show his potential in Saturday’s Grade 1 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown (2.20pm).
Having won a minor race in France last June, Douvan made an impressive debut for Mullins in landing a novice at Gowran Park a few months back (2m, heavy). What stood out about that victory was the 12l demolition of runner-up, Sizing John – a smart hurdler himself, who subsequently won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Form doesn’t come any better than that, and considering Douvan was never out of first gear in defeating Sizing John, we could be looking at a serious animal – so much so, he is already the 9/2 favourite for Cheltenham’s Supreme in March.
But, could there be a shock? Well, Mullins has entered stablemate, Nichols Canyon, who already won a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse in November (2m, yielding), before unseating Sizing John over Christmas. A line can be put through that performance, and he will be looking to restore his reputation having won his Grade 1 by an impressive 5l. It will be interesting to see if Mullins lets both runners clash on Saturday.
Mullins certainly knows what it takes to win this race too, having won it four times since 2005…
Of the last 10 Moscow Flyer winners…
10 won during their last three runs
10 won 31% or more of their hurdle runs
9 ran during previous 21-60 days
8 returned 4/1 or shorter
W Mullins trained 4 winners, C Byrnes had 2
Standing in the way of a fifth Mullins success in the race could be the likes of Tony Martin’s pair, Blair Perrone and Marinero.
The former took a maiden at Leopardstown over Christmas (2m, heavy), and is well thought of by his trainer, while the latter was also a maiden winner at Fairyhouse six weeks ago (2m2f, soft). Of the pair, Blair Perrone was more impressive to the eye.
One 7yo has won this race in the recent past, offering hope to Jessica Harrington’s mare, Rock On The Moor, who won her maiden by over 4l at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. A good jumper, there is more to come from her.
Mouse Morris may also run a couple, the pick of them Alpha Des Obeaux, one of the few with Graded form having been a 2l runner-up in a Grade 3 at Cork (3m, heavy). Having previously won over 2m4f, it remains to be seen whether this step back to 2m on Saturday proves ideal.
This could be the race in which Douvan reveals his true potential, and if he does, then the 9/2 currently available for him winning the Supreme in March could be a lot shorter following Saturday.