Douvan: Supreme favourite's jumping has impressed his connectionsPICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Conditions expected to
suit Douvan in Supreme
WILLIE MULLINS expects the Cheltenham hill to be the making of Douvan as the trainer eyes a flying start to the festival in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle on Tuesday week.
For the last two years Ireland’s champion trainer has got off to the perfect start in the festival opener and hopes are high Douvan can follow suit with the five-year-old the general 7-4 favourite following two bloodless victories over hurdles this season.
Mullins said: "Douvan looks the part. He does everything so naturally at home and on the racecourse when we have run him, so fingers crossed he can do it at Cheltenham as well.
"I think the track will suit and coming up that hill is what he wants. His jumping is good enough and Ruby [Walsh] is very happy with him."
Leading the opposition - and the British challenge - is 32Red Tolworth Hurdle winner L'Ami Serge, who has also been showing his connections the right attributes for the Grade 1 over 2m½f.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of the 4-1 chance, said: "He has done everything right and we think better ground will help him. I know he came from France but he is by King's Theatre and most of them want better ground.
"I don't think it will do him any harm and he is not short on pace. I asked Barry [Geraghty] the other day if he wanted to switch to two and a half but he said no.
"You would like him to win at the festival because that will get the whole meeting off to a good start. It is good to get one on the board because it takes the pressure off, but Willie Mullins' horse sounds pretty good."
Snow fell at Cheltenham on Monday and although the forecast remains unsettled, temperatures are due to raise towards the end of this week and beyond.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "We had some snow this morning but it didn’t hang about. Showers, which could be wintry at times, are expected over the next couple of days, with up to 3-4mm of rain forecast by Wednesday."
The ground was described as good to soft, soft in places on the Old and cross-country courses and good to soft on the New course.
Get your copy of the Racing Post Cheltenham Festival Guide 2015 - the ultimate betting companion in the build-up to the 2015 festival. Order your copy at racingpost.com/shop