Douvan tops Champion possibles

Douvan headlines 28 entries, the second-highest level since 2009, for the £350,000 Grade One Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on the second day of The Festival, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 15.

Douvan heads a high entry for the Champion Chase

Trained by Ireland's champion Jump handler Willie Mullins, Douvan is the 2/5 favourite with Sky Bet (click for the full market) for the two-mile chasing championship as he goes for a third consecutive success at The Festival.

Unbeaten in 12 outings since joining Mullins, the French import landed the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle impressively in 2015 and last year defeated Sizing John (Jessica Harrington) comfortably by seven lengths in the Racing Post Arkle Chase. His unbeaten streak was extended to 13 at Leopardstown over Christmas when he took his Grade One tally to eight.

Mullins has also entered last year's runner-up and 2015 Arkle victor Un De Sceaux, who captured the Tingle Creek Chase gamely by a length at Sandown Park in December, Champagne Fever, Black Hercules and Vroum Vroum Mag.

Fox Norton (Colin Tizzard) is one of the leading British-trained hopes after impressing on his debut for new connections in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November. He is joined by stablemates Sizing Granite and Viconte Du Noyer.

Gloucestershire handler Tom George has two contenders in God's Own and Sir Valentino. God's Own, who also holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase, was fourth last year before going on to top-level triumphs in the Melling Chase at Aintree and two-mile Champion Chase at Punchestown. The nine-year-old kept on strongly behind Un De Sceaux on his latest start when a length and a quarter third in the Tingle Creek Chase.

Sir Valentino finished fifth to Un De Sceaux at Sandown Park, having just beaten Garde La Victoire (Philip Hobbs) on his reappearance in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in November. The progressive eight-year-old went down by half a length to Special Tiara (Henry de Bromhead) in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas.

George said: "God's Own is fine. He has had a winter break and we are just starting away again with him now. I would say it is more than likely that he will go straight to Cheltenham. We haven't made any concrete plans but that is the way it is looking.

"He has got entries in the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase just to give us options really. He proved he stays at Aintree last spring and it makes sense to have both entries.

"Sir Valentino has also had a little break and we will start building him up again. He is improving all the time and it was a great run against Special Tiara giving him six pounds. There isn't an apparent reason why he has improved so much. We have just given him plenty of time and he has kept stepping up."

Other notable entries include exciting novice Altior (Nicky Henderson), who is the ante-post favourite for the Arkle, and the Gary Moore-trained 2014 winner Sire De Grugy and Ar Mad, second and fourth in the Tingle Creek Chase. Moore's third entry is Traffic Fluide.

Britain's champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls relies on 2015 victor Dodging Bullets.

Horse

Age

Owner

Trainer

ALISIER D'IRLANDE (FR)

7

Roger Brookhouse

Henry de Bromhead IRE

ALTIOR (IRE)

7

Patricia Pugh

Nicky Henderson

AR MAD (FR)

7

Ashley Head

Gary Moore

BLACK HERCULES (IRE)

8

Andrea & Graham Wylie

Willie Mullins IRE

CHAMPAGNE FEVER (IRE)

10

Susannah Ricci

Willie Mullins IRE

DODGING BULLETS

9

Martin Broughton & Friends

Paul Nicholls

DOUVAN (FR)

7

Susannah Ricci

Willie Mullins IRE

EASTLAKE (IRE)

11

J P McManus

Jonjo O'Neill

FOX NORTON (FR)

7

Ann & Alan Potts

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Colin Tizzard

GARDE LA VICTOIRE (FR)

8

Diana Whateley

Philip Hobbs

GOD'S OWN (IRE)

9

Crossed Fingers Partnership

Tom George

JUST CAMERON

10

Mr & Mrs Paul Chapman

Micky Hammond

L'AMI SERGE (IRE)

7

Simon Munir & Isaac Souede

Nicky Henderson

ROYAL REGATTA (IRE)

9

Lesley Field & Eileen Murphy

Philip Hobbs

SIMPLY NED (IRE)

10

David & Nicky Robinson

Nicky Richards

SIR VALENTINO (FR)

8

Doone Hulse Susie Saunders & Lady Cobham

Tom George

SIRE DE GRUGY (FR)

11

The Preston Family & Friends Ltd

Gary Moore

SIZING GRANITE (IRE)

9

Ann & Alan Potts

Colin Tizzard

SIZING JOHN

7

Ann & Alan Potts Partnership

Jessica Harrington IRE

SPECIAL TIARA

10

Sally Rowley-Williams

Henry de Bromhead IRE

TELL US MORE (IRE)

8

Gigginstown House Stud

Gordon Elliott IRE

THE GAME CHANGER (IRE)

8

Gigginstown House Stud

Gordon Elliott IRE

TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR)

7

Galloping On The South Downs Partnership

Gary Moore

UN DE SCEAUX (FR)

9

Edward O'Connell

Willie Mullins IRE

UXIZANDRE (FR)

9

J P McManus

Alan King

VANITEUX (FR)

8

Richard & Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes

Nicky Henderson

VICONTE DU NOYER (FR)

8

Ann & Alan Potts

Colin Tizzard

VROUM VROUM MAG (FR)

8

Susannah Ricci

Willie Mullins IRE

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