Douvan set to miss National Hunt season with pastern problem
Willie Mullins confirms star chaser has suffered injury to same leg as last season
Willie Mullins confirmed that Douvan is likely to miss the National Hunt season with a leg injury. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The injury-plagued star chaser Douvan looks set to miss the entire National Hunt season due a pastern problem.
Trainer Willie Mullins revealed last Wednesday how Douvan had pulled up lame earlier that week but hoped it would be only a minor setback for a horse he has described as the best he’s trained.
However, at Naas on Sunday Mullins revealed the problem is more serious. He also said the injury is on the same leg that curtailed Douvan’s campaign during last season and not as had been previously believed.
“It looks like he’s out for the season. It’s a little lesion on a little tendon at the back of his pastern. It’s similar to what he had last year, but higher up,” he said.
“It’s an unusual injury. The only time I can remember it is with Dawn Run in the year she missed,” Mullins added.
It continues a frustrating run for Douvan who was out for a year between a shock defeat in the 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase and falling in the same race last March. He was subsequently runner-up to his stable companion Un De Sceaux at Punchestown.
Ireland’s 2018 flat campaign wound up at Naas on Sunday and Tony Martin claimed the last big handicap prize of the season with Mr Everest.
It completed a successful weekend for Martin who’d landed a valuable handicap hurdle at Down Royal the day before through Golden Spear.
That horse figured among the 20 original runners for the €100,000 Local Bookmakers Handicap but was declared a non non-runner due to ‘coughing.’
With one of Mullins’s 10 declarations, Pakora, also a non-runner, Martin supplied two reserves and the first of them, Mr Everest, justified market confidence having being backed into one of the 7-1 co-favourites.
It confirmed a return to form for Martin’s string and the Co Meath trainer said: “Things are going right for a change. Things weren’t going right for long enough there. So it’s good. It’ll brighten up the winter!”
Shane Crosse can look forward to a winter studying for his Leaving Cert next year although he will do so as Ireland’s newly crowned champion apprentice jockey.
The 17-year-old hadn’t ridden a winner before the season began but brought his championship winning tally to 28 with a 16-1 success on Naadheer in a maiden.
Crosse once again used his 7lb claim to good effect when edging out the 2017 champion jockey Colin Keane by a neck.
Aidan O’Brien was in double form on the final day of another championship-winning season. Ballydoyle’s apparent second-string Antilles won the nursery while the odds-on Turnberry Isle comfortably beat his stable companion Gentile Bellini in a juvenile maiden.
O’Brien’s double brought him to 152 winners in Ireland this year worth prizemoney of almost €7 million. It’s a haul that gives him a 21st champion trainer’s crown. His nearest rival was his son Joseph, who notched 85 winners in Ireland worth nearly €2.5 million.
Colin Keane lost his jockeys’ title to Donnacha O’Brien (111 winners) but enjoyed a final day double for Ger Lyons. Erich Bloch won the opener while Mustajeer ran away with concluding Finale Stakes.