Douvan to head straight for Cheltenham

Willie Mullins opts against surprise return for star chaser at Gowran Park on Saturday

Douvan won’t make his return at Gowran Park on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Douvan won’t make his return at Gowran Park on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Willie Mullins has decided against running Douvan in Saturday’s Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

The champion trainer took everyone by surprise earlier in the week after giving the exceptional chaser an entry in the Grade Two contest.

Mullins had initially ruled his charge out for the season when he was forced to miss the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, deciding on a “conservative approach” to his recovery.

The noises have been much more positive of late following veterinary reports, but Douvan will not be lining up this weekend.

In Douvan’s absence the Closutton handler relies on last year’s winner Ballycasey.

Jessica Harrington runs her Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Our Duke just 13 days after finishing fourth in the Irish Gold Cup, while Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy is back over fences having won the Galmoy Hurdle last time out.

Henry de Bromhead’s Valseur Lido and Gordon Elliott’s A Toi Phil complete the five-runner field.

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