Douvan: is a best-priced 4-6 favourite (from 3) for the Betfair Tingle CreekPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos
Douvan odds-on for Saturday's Tingle Creek
DOUVAN is worrying bookmakers yet again. The shortest-priced favourite of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival when winning the Racing Post Arkle at 1-4 was the subject of an almighty plunge on Tuesday morning as his price plummeted from as big as 4-1 with bet365 into 4-7 with most firms for Saturday's Betfair Tingle Creek.
Despite the widespread gamble, Willie Mullins was keeping tight-lipped about the prospect of Douvan showing up at Sandown. He told the Racing Post on Tuesday morning: "Douvan is fine. We have not made a decision yet."
But the weight of support that arrived for Douvan between 10.30am and 11.30am would suggest otherwise.
"It all happened in the space of an hour," said BoyleSports' spokesman Leon Blanche. "He was 7-2 at half ten. That quickly became 3-1, then 2-1, into 11-8, shortened further to 10-11 and now we are 4-7. With Un De Sceaux on the drift and out to 5-1, it is looking increasingly likely that Douvan will represent the Mullins camp on Saturday. He could have an SP of 1-3 or even shorter."
Blanche added: "All the people we respect are on. It happened quickly but it was the right faces who wanted to back him. They got on decent sums of cash without the figures being earth-shattering."
Douvan had been friendless at 5-1 with Paddy Power over the weekend but, having started Tuesday at 3-1, his price went into freefall and the firm's spokesman Paul Binfield also believes he could go off at 1-3 on Saturday.
Binfield said: "We have seen a real steady flow of money for Douvan today which suggests he is a very likely runner. We've cut him to 4-7 now as we didn't think there was any point hitting every branch on the way down.
"This could still be a good price as, if he goes, Un De Sceaux won't run and Gary Moore might well choose to unleash Ar Mad in the Peterborough Chase instead, leaving Douvan at around 1-3 at the off."
Barry Orr, from the sponsors Betfair, also reported substantial sums of money for Douvan.
"The two-mile chasing division appears to be at the mercy of Douvan and the market suggests that the Willie Mullins-trained horse is primed for a bold show on Saturday. We have seen a flood of money for Douvan this morning and he looks a very likely runner. He is now 4-7 from 5-1 following heavy and sustained support," Orr said.
Douvan has a perfect record of ten from ten since joining Willie Mullins and won the Grade 1 novice chases over two miles at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown festivals last spring. He is generally a 4-6 shot to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
On Tuesday eight entries were confirmed for Saturday's Tingle Creek, with Douvan joined by stablemate Un De Sceaux and Gordon Elliott's fellow Irish raider The Game Changer.
The home team is headed by Gary Moore's pair of Sire De Grugy and Ar Mad, and rounded out by Paul Nicholls' Vibrato Valtat and the Tom George-trained pair God's Own and Sir Valentino.
The Racing Post Henry VIII Novices' Chase on the same card has attracted six runners, with Altior, The New One and Charbel the standouts alongside Marracudja, Max Ward and Zarib.