John Sizes Up To Douvan Yet Again

Thursday’s card at Punchestown is an absolute cracker featuring a host of talented Grade 1 performers.

Ryanair Novice Chase
This includes a stellar cast for the Ryanair Novice chase (6.40pm) where the mighty Douvan is a red-hot 1/8 favourite to cap off what has been a memorable season.

Willie Mullins’ 6yo is now unbeaten in his last 10 races, with his only defeat coming upon debut back in 2014. To say Douvan made up for that defeat is an understatement, as he has scooped six Grade 1 events, three of which came over fences since January.

The last of those was without doubt the best, when Douvan tore the opposition apart to win at Aintree by 14l (2m, good to soft), having previously beaten another of Thursday’s rivals, Sizing John (12/1) by 7l when winning the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham (2m, good to soft).

Quite simply, if Douvan records an “average” performance then it should still be good enough to win this.

However nothing can be taken for granted in this game and should the favourite make an error or two, Sizing John may exact his revenge.

John Sizes Up To Douvan Again
Henry de Bromhead’s 6yo has now lost five times to Douvan, on each occasion by distances of 7l, 18l, 7l, 7l and 12l, including over hurdles at this meeting 12 months ago.

No doubt Sizing John will be trying hard once more, but it would take something special for him to get his nose in front.

Investors will see more value in taking the each-way option at 12/1.

Elliott’s Game Plan To Work?
Another who will be sick of the sight of Douvan is Gordon Elliott’s The Game Changer (10/1), who was beaten 13l by the favourite at Cheltenham, and then 14l at Aintree. Again, it would take a lot for The Game Changer to emerge in front on Thursday but he can be relied upon to go well at a venue where he has struck three times in the past.

Bob Does Rain Dance
Elsewhere, Jessica Harrington has entered Ttebbob (20/1), a Grade 3 winner in December (2m1f, heavy), who will need the heavens to open if looking to get amongst the mix. If the rain does arrive, then he has plenty of stamina and will prefer the mud more than the others.

Baltimore Rock is another who would appreciate any softening of the ground, though he has plenty to prove having fallen behind Douvan at Cheltenham on just his third chase outing.

Recommended Bets
If the same Douvan turns up that has simply teased the opposition this season, then he will win, with Sizing John making up the possible forecast.

*Prices correct at time of publication.