King George option for Douvan

Owner Rich Ricci admits he is tempted by a tilt at the King George VI Chase at Kempton with the brilliant Douvan.

Douvan could take in the King George on Boxing Day

The six-year-old is unbeaten in 10 appearances since joining Willie Mullins and won each of his six starts over fences last season.

He won at the Cheltenham Festival for the second successive year with victory in the Arkle Trophy and rounded off his tremendous campaign with subsequent triumphs at Aintree and Punchestown.

Douvan has done most of his racing at two miles and is already odds-on with some bookmakers for this season's Queen Mother Champion Chase, but Ricci is not ruling out an appearance over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He told At The Races: "'Wow' is the best way to describe Douvan. We don't know how good he is yet but he has come through all his tests to date with flying colours.

"The two-mile chase programme seems to have more options in England with the Tingle Creek at Sandown in early December a possibility.

"We haven't decided what direction we will go but we would be lying if we said we were not tempted by the King George, he could be some sight around Kempton on a bit of decent ground and it is a race we would dearly love to win.

"We know he has it to prove in open company yet but it is very hard to contain our excitement about him."

Douvan is a best-priced 6-1 for the King George, with most bookmakers making stable companion Vautour the 7-2 favourite.

The seven-year-old was narrowly denied by Cue Card in last year's renewal and while Ricci feels his charge is better going left-handed, he is in contention for a repeat bid.

"He's 100% at the moment and has been responsible for two of the most dazzling and impressive displays of any of our Cheltenham winners, he seems to come alive at the place," said Ricci.

"Willie just wasn't happy with him going into the Festival last March and we changed plans right at the last minute. I know it didn't look good as I was convinced as anyone that we were heading for the Gold Cup or staying at home.

"In hindsight he won the Ryanair so it was the right decision but I do want to see him tackle the Gold Cup if there was some decent ground, while at the same time I am well aware there are many who say he will never stay three and a quarter miles.

"I would like to take on the challenge with him. When he is on song everything seems to come easily to him but getting him to pitch perfect is a challenge.

"I have a gut feeling he doesn't like going right-handed as much, he doesn't have the same cut at his fences as he does going left-handed in my opinion.

"That being said last year's King George feels like one that got away so there is every possibility he will go back there.

"He will need a run beforehand as he is a great big gross horse."

Read More at Sporting Life

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