Douvan on target for Leopardstown and Yorkhill set for fences
Willie Mullins will now aim Douvan at the Leopardstown Christmas festival following his electric seasonal debut at Cork on Sunday.
The Rich Ricci-owned star will be kept to two miles this season and Mullins believes that the Paddy Power Cashcard Chase at Leopardstown on December 27th is the most logical next step for the unbeaten chaser.
“Douvan is very good since his Cork win and everything seemed to come together nicely for him,” Mullins said. “Leopardstown looks the logical next step for him now and we will take it step by step with him."
Despite the open feel to the current Champion Hurdle field, and the cloud that continues to hang over the stable’s champion hurdle winners Annie Power and Faugheen, Mullins has resisted the temptation to keep Neptune Novices' Hurdle winner Yorkhill over hurdles this term.
Mullins said: “Yorkhill will go novice chasing and he's very well. He had entries in beginners’ chases at the weekend but we didn’t run him. I’m not sure when exactly he will make his chasing debut, but he is exciting over the larger obstacles.”
Jessica Harrington is also hoping to take the wraps off some of her stable stars, namely Sizing John, on course to take on his nemesis Douvan, and former champion hurdle winner Jezki.
She said: “Sizing John is very good and he is ready to start. We have been happy with him and we plan on giving him his first start in the two-mile race [Paddy Power Cashcard Chase].
“Jezki is also very good and he is pleasing us ahead of his return at Leopardstown, where we plan on running him in the [Squared Financial] Christmas Hurdle,” she said.
Noel Meade is readying a strong team for Leopardstown, and spoke in glowing terms of Road To Riches.
Placed in the 2014 Gold Cup behind Coneygree and Djakadam, Road To Riches was operated on for trouble he was enduring with a kissing spine.
Meade believes the procedure may have done the trick for the nine-year-old chaser. “Road To Riches is back and he has been in great form since his operation,” Meade said.
“We are looking forward to Christmas and he has entries in the Lexus and the King George.”