Brilliant Douvan the star entry for Cheltenham Arkle
Willie Mullins has numerous entries in RSA, JLT Novices’ and National Hunt chases
The Willie Mullins-trained Douvan is odds-on favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham. Photograph: Sportsfile
The brilliant Douvan is the star name among 37 entries for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham.
Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner is all the rage to claim Festival glory once more, having won each of his three starts over fences in devastating fashion for the all-conquering Willie Mullins.
Douvan is one of seven potential runners for Mullins, with Supreme runner-up Shaneshill, Outlander and Killultagh Vic all in contention, while having other options.
There are 14 Irish-trained entries in all, with Sizing John, Ttebbob and Velvet Maker other potential raiders.
The home challenge includes the Nicky Henderson-trained duo of L’Ami Serge and Vaniteux, Gary Moore’s exciting novice Ar Mad and Garde La Victoire from Philip Hobbs’ stable.
Killultagh Vic also is one of 64 entries — and one of 14 possible runners for Mullins — in the JLT Novices’ Chase on March 17th.
He could be joined by stablemates Shaneshill and Pont Alexandre, while fellow Mullins inmates Douvan and Black Hercules have also been entered but are expected to head in different directions.
Nigel Twiston-Davies prefers this race for Bristol De Mai but he has also been put in the RSA.
Garde La Victoire, Bitofapuzzle, More Of That, No More Heroes, Vaniteux and L’Ami Serge have all been entered but have multiple options.
Sizing John, Zabana, Three Musketeers, Activial and Calipto are other names of interest at this stage.
Jonjo O’Neill’s More Of That and the Gordon Elliott-trained No More Heroes are among 50 entries for the RSA Chase on March 16th.
The pair are unbeaten since their attentions were switched to fences and are likely to take all the beating, although will give it a good go with 13 entries which include Outlander, Black Hercules and Roi Des Francs.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion, Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red and Monksland from Noel Meade’s yard also appear.
Native River, Seeyouatmidnight, Southfield Royale, Vyta Du Roc and Maximiser are all in the mix at this stage, as is Ben Pauling’s Local Show, a winner at Kempton this week.
Meanwhile a record 89-strong entry has been received for the National Hunt Chase on the opening day of the festival.
The four-mile contest for amateur riders is the longest race of the week and ante-posts lists are currently headed by Black Hercules, who is trained by Mullins and looks the potential mount of his son, Patrick.
Mullins senior won this race twice as a jockey aboard Hazy Dawn (1982) and Macks Friendly (1984) and was moved to tears when Patrick booted Back In Focus home in front three years ago.
Roi Des Francs and Pont Alexandre also feature in a potentially strong team for Mullins, while the Mouse Morris-trained Rule The World is among 35 Irish-trained contenders.
Neil Mulholland’s Southfield Royale, Colin Tizzard’s Native River and Vicente from Paul Nicholls’ yard are all prominent in the betting for Britaine