Douvan leads 28 entries for Queen Mother Champion Chase

Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton set to head the strong British challenge

Douvan and Ruby Walsh have been victorious at the last two Cheltenham festivals. Photograph: Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images)

Douvan is the headline act among the 28 entries for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old has a perfect eight from eight record over fences to date and has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals.

He has yet to taste defeat in 12 races for Ireland’s champion trainer, who has also entered Champagne Fever, Black Hercules, Vroum Vroum Mag and last year’s runner-up Un De Sceaux.

Fox Norton is the leading British-trained contender according to the sponsors and is one of three possibles for man of the moment Colin Tizzard, along with Sizing Granite and Viconte Du Noyer.


Champion Nicky Henderson has entered his star novice Altior, but he is thought more likely to contest the Arkle Trophy at this stage. The Seven Barrows handler has also given L'Ami Serge and Vaniteux the engagement.

Gary Moore has three possibles in former winner Sire De Grugy, Ar Mad and Traffic Fluide.

Winter break

Dodging Bullets, who was triumphant in 2015, Garde La Victoire and Special Tiara also feature.

Tom George has a couple of chances with Sir Valentino and God's Own, who was fourth to Sprinter Sacre 12 months ago but has the option of the Ryanair Chase.

George said: “God’s Own is fine. He has had a winter break and we are just starting away again with him now. I would say it is more than likely that he will go straight to Cheltenham. We haven’t made any concrete plans, but that is the way it is looking.

“He has got entries in the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase, just to give us options really. He proved he stays at Aintree last spring and it makes sense to have both entries.

“Sir Valentino has also had a little break and we will start building him up again. He is improving all the time and it was a great run against Special Tiara giving him 6lb [to finish second in Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas].

“There isn’t an apparent reason why he has improved so much. We have just given him plenty of time and he has kept stepping up.”