Race Time: 2.10pm Meeting: Haydock Day: Sunday 22nd November Full Race Name: Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Beginners Chase
Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci are between them building an army of top class horses, and there’s no doubt that one of the most impressive last year was Douvan (1/7) who now excitingly turns his hand to novice chasing for the first time following his summer break.
Unbeaten in all his starts in the UK and Ireland (and just a 2nd on his debut blotting his otherwise perfect record) – he destroyed the Supreme Novices field on the opening day of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival to set Willie Mullins on to a day of (near) domination. His class was so evident he was sent off just 1/6 for the Punchestown Champion Novice 6 weeks later where he won even more convincingly, and he’s just as exciting a prospect over fences. He starts over 2m 1f, leading to prospects next season of a clash with Un De Sceaux, providing he lives up to the hype and backers at this short price will be hoping this 160 rated hurdler can avoid any lapses in concentration like his stablemate suffered early in his chasing career.
In terms of opposition, the standard is dire and there’s just nothing in here that should get close to beating Douvan. Blair Perrone (20/1) is the most recognisable of the opposition, having finished 3rd behind the favourite in the Champion Novice Hurdle at 25/1 – that a 15 length defeat. His Chase career has started disastrously however with a fall followed by being pulled up before 3 out following multiple jumping mistakes and trainer A J Martin will be hoping for a clear round rather than a win.
Of those with previous chasing experience, J P McManus appears to have entered plenty of his who have run (poorly) recently including Rogue Trader (9/2), Rathpatrick (50/1), Irish Bulletin (66/1), Shantou Ed (33/1) and I Knew Well (25/1). Four of these raced in at Naas two weeks ago and only one managed to finish within 10 lengths of the winner which says it all really!