Sunday 21 January 2018

Punchestown 2015: Douvan next for Herald honours

Douvan jumps the last to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
Douvan jumps the last to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

Some very elite names litter the roll of honour for the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle and Douvan looks set to be the next one to stamp his authority on the race when he faces five rivals in the opening Grade One race of the Punchestown Festival tomorrow afternoon.


It hasn’t always been the case that the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner would come to Punchestown to do the two-mile novice hurdle double, but Douvan looks to be someway ahead of tomorrow’s field after a comprehensive win at the Cheltenham Festival, which was just his third start for Willie Mullins.

Henry de Bromhead has got his team in flying form and he has enjoyed two Grade One successes across the water this month at both Aintree and last weekend at Sandown.

And it’s his horse Sizing John, a Grade One winner himself at Leopardstown earlier this season, who poses the biggest threat to Douvan and is likely to lead home the fight for second place.

But there is nothing to suggest that Sizing John can reverse the seven-length defeat from the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Douvan.

Noel Meade is a trainer with a very good record in this race and his contender tomorrow is Rich Coast, who ran a much more encouraging race at Fairyhouse last time out but still appears to have a good bit to find on the leading two if he is going to cause a major surprise on the opening day.

Douvan will be looking to give owner Rich Ricci a first Grade One success in Ireland since the Punchestown Festival last year, where his haul included Faugheen in this race and Annie Power in the final day Mares Hurdle.

So the owner will be hoping of getting the week off to the best possible start once again.

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