Deadly Douvan destroys rivals in Hilly Way romp

Douvan and Paul Townend: measure a fence on the way to victory

PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Magnificent Douvan destroys Hilly Way rivals By Tony McFadden 2:17PM 11 DEC 2016

Report: Cork, Sunday

Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase (Grade 2) 2m1f, 5yo+

DOUVAN extended his unbeaten record for Willie Mullins to 11 with a magnificent performance on his seasonal reappearance.

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Sent off as the 1-6 favourite for this Grade 2 contest, Douvan was fully expected to prove too good for his rivals, but the style of the victory was still impressive.

Paul Townend – deputising for Ruby Walsh who was at Punchestown to ride John Durkan winner Djakadam – sent the seven-time Grade 1 winner straight into the lead and, bar a mistake three from home, he put in an exhibition of jumping on his way to a 22-length success.

David Casey, assistant to trainer Willie Mullins, said: "Paul said he was hacking at all stages and thought that he was actually going slow. That's the type of horse we are dealing with. He has so much class."

Townend added: "He was a bit gassy but did everything right…he's very good."

Days Hotel finished a never threatening second while Fine Rightly was third.

Ante-post reaction

Douvan was already a short price for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but most bookmakers took the opportunity to trim the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned star, who is now as short as 4-9 and no bigger than 8-13.

He is also entered in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26 and remains a 10-1 shot with Paddy Power, though there has been no indication from connections that he will be stepped up in trip to tackle that three-mile contest.

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