Willie Mullins excited by Douvan’s great potential

Unbeaten star records another impressive Grade One triumph at Punchestown

In racing vernacular ‘C-B-A’ is nothing lackadaisical, rather meaning ‘Could-Be-Anything,’ the most exciting abbreviation in the game and one which continues to firmly hang around Douvan’s handsome neck after another striking Grade One success at Punchestown.

Now unbeaten in four starts for Willie Mullins, future options for Douvan are so open that the champion trainer understandably kicked for touch when it came to plans for next season yet didn't hesitate to label the novice "probably as good as we've ever had".

Considering Mullins’s resources that is some statement, but Douvan’s run of success makes his willingness to use such a term as understandable as his reluctance to pin himself down to a hurdling or steeplechase future.

“He really could be anything; the way he flicks his hurdles, he’s amazingly athletic considering his size and scope,” Mullins said. “We have to debate whether he stays hurdling or goes chasing next season. He’s always looked like he could go chasing but the way he jumps hurdles, you don’t know.”


Since Mullins confounded many after last summer’s grass by keeping Faugheen to hurdles and putting Vautour over fences, nothing can be taken for granted which probably explains how bookmakers are simultaneously making Douvan favourite for next year’s Arkle and second-favourite behind Faugheen for the Champion Hurdle.

“He’s way more efficient jumping than Faugheen ever was, or is, and that from a novice is extraordinary really,” added Mullins.

In bare form terms however Douvan achieved little more than he did when landing the Supreme at Cheltenham. Sizing John was half a length further behind him this time but the 1-6 favourite’s stalking style lends itself to such margins. In visual terms it also lends itself to thoughts of what might be.

After Some Article won the Goffs Land Rover Bumper, Tom Mullins briefly thought he could be dealing in similar 'C-B-A' terms but the horse has proved a major disappointment until starting to show decent form again this season.

The 10-1 shot rallied to great effect to land the €50,000 Killashee Handicap Hurdle and the Co Kilkenny based trainer explained: “Today was the plan and it’s great to win after he lost his way after showing such promise in the Land Rover. Good ground is important to him so the Galway Hurdle could be a possibility.”

Cork jockey Jane Mangan produced a strong ride on board the 33-1 Timing'severything in the Day One finale.

Mangan combined with Cashel-based Pat Twomey to also finish runner-up in the earlier €100,000 bumper with Policy Breach.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column