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Friday 28 July 2017

Mullins unstoppable as Douvan continues to be stellar performer

Native River on the way to victory at Chepstow. Pic: PA
Native River on the way to victory at Chepstow. Pic: PA

I would imagine anyone writing off Willie Mullins this season has gotten back into their box fairly quickly over the past few days as he has just been relentless.

Yesterday was just further proof as to how good a trainer Willie is, with five winners at such a competitive meeting as Leopardstown. You don't achieve all Willie has done and then just disappear off the face of the earth because you've had a few tough breaks.

We are just very lucky in Ireland to have two top-class trainers that continue to send out loads of winners and when Willie wasn't winning one of the big ones yesterday, he was finishing second to Gordon Elliott in the Paddy Power Chase. It's going to make for an absolutely fascinating few months as the pair go head-to-head for the trainers' championship.

Phenomenal

One in every two of Willie's runners over the last two days have won and that's just phenomenal - and so too was Douvan.

I was watching in from Chepstow and with Ruby riding him, I was an interested spectator. I was looking forward to seeing how he would fare because he did take the odd chance on his way to the line in Cork but he was foot perfect yesterday.

Because Thistlecrack is a novice stepping out of that company, he is probably going to attract more headlines, but Douvan has been sensational for a couple of seasons now as well and is showing no signs of even finding himself under pressure, let alone getting beaten.

Speaking of Thistlecrack, it's been a wonderful couple of days for his trainer, Colin Tizzard, who added the Welsh National with Native River and you could take nothing away from his performance.

We were thrilled with Baie Des Iles who ran another cracking race for my husband, Ross, and her owners Charles and Zorka Wentworth. It was just a real shame that we didn't get the deep ground that the mare loves and that they get nearly every year for the Welsh National.

She finished fifth in what was probably one of the strongest renewals of the race in some time and will be only six next week so I'm sure there's a big one in her some day as she continues to get stronger.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Leopardstown today where I can't wait to ride Clondaw Warrior in the Grade One. The horse has a lot of class and is a Galway Hurdle winner, who is owned by a group of good friends, including my sister-in-law, Gillian, so it'll be another big day out for them, although it'll be a tough ask to beat Vroum Vroum Mag.

Second

Tomorrow I can see Nichols Canyon win the Ryanair Hurdle for the second year in a row.

This probably wasn't the original plan for him last year and it certainly wasn't this year but he's a great sub to have and should end the Leopardstown meeting on a high for Willie Mullins.

I was extremely impressed with Coney Island when he won the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse earlier in the month and I think he can follow that up here for Eddie Harty.

As novice chasers go, he was exceptional under Mark Walsh that day and would take your eye out with his jumping. He looks a leading stayer for this season.

Leopardstown tomorrow

1.55 Coney Island

2.30 Nichols Canyon

3.05 Exactoris

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