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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Talking points: key revelations from the day-two festival declarations

Invitation Only: goes for the JLT
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Ruby thinks Douvan has enough dash for Champion Chase

On Sunday the Ryanair was under consideration for Douvan, but come declarations on Monday morning connections decided to stick with Plan A and run him in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Confirming the news, Willie Mullins remarked that Ruby Walsh has been "very happy" with the eight-year-old in his recent work and was keen to stick to two miles in the Champion Chase rather than go for the 2m5f Ryanair Chase.

The likely soft ground is going to place emphasis on stamina rather than speed but Walsh, who has been aboard Douvan for the last three festivals, must have sufficient belief that the sharper test is still within Douvan's compass.

No three-mile test for Invitation Only yet

The betting suggested the JLT was going to be the race of choice for Invitation Only, and connections have decided against going up in trip this week.

The seven-year-old has not gone beyond 2m5f under rules, and it makes sense to stick to the 2m4f JLT, for which he is favourite, rather than test 3m½f in the RSA on jump racing's biggest stage.

Ballymore is Next's destination

Samcro may be all the rage for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, but Next Destination boasts exactly the same record over hurdles with three wins from three starts.

The six-year-old could have dodged Samcro and gone for the Albert Bartlett, but he will instead stand tall on Wednesday and is one of four chances for Willie Mullins in a field of 14.

County Hurdle for Bleu Et Rouge

Bleu Et Rouge has never won over the 2m5f Coral Cup trip and, while he has not won over 2m1f, he has been successful at 2m and 2m2f over hurdles.

He was due to carry top weight in Friday's Randox Health County Hurdle, but should find the Coral Cup distance more to his liking.

Quinn opts to look at Fred Winter

Look My Way put it up to Apple's Shakira last time out when going down by eight lengths to the JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite at Cheltenham.

While the John Quinn-trained four-year-old could have taken her on again on Friday, he will instead go down the handicap route in the Fred Winter.

It will be a first handicap start for Look My Way – and if he performs well will further enhance Apple's Shakira's claims for the Triumph.

Cheltenham Wednesday card

If you are interested in this, you might also like:

Talking points: key revelations from the day one festival declarations

'Lame' Altior a doubt for Champion Chase showdown with Douvan

Cheltenham going eases to heavy, soft in places on eve of meeting

Is the Ryanair a better race for Douvan than the Champion Chase?

Read exclusive previews of day one of the Cheltenham Festival from 6pm on Monday on


The seven-year-old has not gone beyond 2m5f under rules, and it makes sense to stick to the 2m4f JLT
E.W. Terms
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