Douvan 'not far away' ahead of possible Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday

Tue 13 Feb 2018

Douvan is "not far away" from returning to action after being entered in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.

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Willie Mullins had initially ruled the star chaser out for the season when he was forced to miss the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

However, the noises have been much more positive of late following veterinary reports and Douvan has been given entries for both the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, having not run since being pulled up there last March.

"He'll have to work again later in the week, but he's not far away now," said assistant trainer Patrick Mullins.

"He is entered and he's been in good form, but we're just taking it day by day and stepping him up gradually, but it's so far so good.

"When the vets looked at him just after Christmas, they were surprised how well he was and they gave us the go-ahead to build him up gradually and so far there's been no problems."

Douvan is one of 10 entries for the Red Mills along with stablemates Bellshill and Ballycasey.

As expected, Jessica Harrington has given last season's Irish Grand National winner Our Duke the option following his encouraging run in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown behind Edwulf.

Prior to that he had only been seen once this term, at Down Royal in November when it transpired he was suffering from a kissing spine.

Pat Kelly's smart novice Presenting Percy, who is favourite for the RSA Insurance Chase, is also a possible, along with A Toi Phil, Ball D'Arc, Valseur Lido, Sumos Novios and Val De Ferbert.

In the Red Mills Trial Hurdle, Mullins has entered Bacardys, Abbyssial, Lagostovegas and Pravalaguna among 12.

Gordon Elliott's Grade One winner Mick Jazz could be stepped up in trip, with stablemates Tombstone and The Game Changer in the mix along with Henry de Bromhead's Identity Thief.

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