Cheltenham Festival tips: Will Douvan reign supreme in Queen Mother's Chase?

Willie Mullins insists relief will be his overriding emotion should Douvan justify his prohibitive odds in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 11:25 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:24 am
Willie Mullin's Douvan is a heavy favourite to win the Queen Mother's Chase
Willie Mullin's Douvan is a heavy favourite to win the Queen Mother's Chase

Unbeaten in 13 starts since arriving in Ireland, the brilliant seven-year-old is as short as 1-4 to add to his tally in the feature event on day two at Cheltenham.

He is already a dual Festival winner having landed the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy in the last two years and it will go down as one of the biggest shocks in the showpiece fixture's history if he does not complete the hat-trick.

Mullins said: "He's in good form and everything has gone well. At this stage we're just hoping everything goes well on the day.

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"When you are going to Cheltenham with a favourite like Douvan, it is relief rather than joy when they win. When you have a 25-1 winner that isn't expected, that is joy. There is fair bit of expectation with Douvan, so you just want to keep him right and get there.

"I only think every morning about keeping him sound."

Douvan faces nine rivals, with Special Tiara the only other Irish challenger.

The 10-year-old has finished third in the last two renewals of the race and trainer Henry de Bromhead could not be happier with his stable stalwart's condition ahead of his latest bid for glory.

The Duke and Julius give their tips for Cheltenham

"He's in mighty form. He's had two runs on ground he would have hated this year and when he got his good ground he won nicely at Kempton," said the Knockeen-based trainer.

"He loves racing and has been third in the Champion Chase the last two years. I still don't know how he wasn't second last year, but he wasn't.

"He's a very good horse in his own right."

Colin Tizzard is double-handed, with Fox Norton joined by stable companion Sizing Granite.

The Duke and Julius give their tips for Cheltenham

Fox Norton made an excellent debut for the yard in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November, but was then sidelined by injury for three months and proved no match for Altior on his comeback run in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

Tom George also fires a twin assault and feels both God's Own and Sir Valentino are capable of running into a place at least. God's Own has been off the track since finishing third behind Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December.

Top Gamble was third behind Un De Sceaux in January's Clarence House Chase at this venue and trainer Kerry Lee felt it was worth supplementing him for a crack at the two-mile chasing crown.

The Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned finished third behind Douvan at Christmas and carries the hopes of the north.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Garde La Victoire and Traffic Fluide from Gary Moore's yard complete the 10-strong field.