Douvan is a top price of just 2/7 with William Hill to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday and it would be appear that his only dangers are the fences in front of him rather than the opposition.
Since winning the Arkle Trophy Chase so impressively on Cheltenham Ladies Day last year, Douvan has done nothing but progress and improve his skillset over fences. In terms of the favourite, it could pay to simply sit back and enjoy the show, while having a bet in the “Without (W/o) Douvan” Champion Chase market.
Fox Norton is the 11/4 favourite in ‘W/o Douvan’ market with Betfair Sportsbook, understandably so giving his form. Brushed aside last time out by Altior, he was superb at Cheltenham when winning the Shloer Chase by nine lengths and a repeat of that performance would see him finish in first four.
But the ground was very soft that day and if forecasts are anything to go by, it could be decent ground, which brings Special Tiara, who finished second to Fox Norton that day, right back into the equation in the fight for second spot behind Douvan.
Bet365 are offering 5/1 Special Tiara W/o Douvan, which given his ability and experience looks a big price if indeed the ground does dry up a bit.
On spring ground his jumping can be quite electric and he is better than he’s shown so far this season. It is reasonable to expect him to peak once again, having finished a 3.5 lengths third to Sprinter Sacre last year.
This is very much a race to enjoy, especially if Douvan performs to his absolute best. He really is a special horse and perhaps the best Willie Mullins has ever trained.
Everything he does is perfect and he seems to come alive at Cheltenham. Special Tiara is likely to put his jumping to the test early on and while it’s unreasonable to expect Henry De Bromhead’s veteran to keep the lead when Douvan comes hunting, he looks a value Cheltenham free bet at 5/1 to hold on for second place with Bet365.