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Trainer Willie Mullins has confirmed Douvan will miss the rest of the season as connections try to get him back to his best ahead of the 2018 campaign.
The two-mile chaser has not been seen since he lost his unbeaten record over fences in March. The seven-year-old was the heavy favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but Special Tiara shocked everyone by storming to victory. Scans showed Douvan had suffered an injury during the race but he was back in training and set to run at Sandown earlier this month. Connections had picked out the Tingle Creek Chase but he was not declared in the end.
Mullins admits he was not pleased with his condition on that occasion but reports claimed he was still set to run at Leopardstown over Christmas. However, the legendary Irish trainer has now revealed his stable star will not be seen this season. Mullins told reporters: “It’s disappointing news, but we are taking a very conservative approach to his recovery, so this season is on hold.
“Our veterinary team will come back to us after the weekend to see what we need to do to help his recovery. He is young enough to come back to his best.” Douvan’s career could now be in doubt but he has already won eight Grade One contests so far. His wins include the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ankle Challenge Trophy but now others will compete for the title in the Champion Chase.
Altior is the 2.50 favourite to win the race, but connections of Politologue will fancy their chances after his win at Sandown and he is priced at odds of 5.50 to win in March.