Douvan makes his case for Cheltenham Gold Cup

The six-year-old made light work of the field as he cruised to victory in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown

BY Cian Roche 20:15 Thursday 28 April 2016, 20:15 28 Apr 2016

Ruby Walsh wins The Ryanair Novice Steeplechase on Douvan Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Willie Mullins will assess whether he will pit Douvan against Sprinter Sacre as the unbeaten six-year-old put cruised to victory in  the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown.

Douvan, who has already proven his quality at Aintree and Cheltenham this year, was the obvious short price favourite as he saw off the challenge of The Game Changer (9-1) and Sizing John (8-1).

Mullins is still chasing a first elusive Gold Cup winning horse but believes that today's 2-9 priced favourite could well be primed to make history for the trainer.

"To do what he did coming back from the other festivals, very few horses can do that - and he did it in style" he told Racing Post.

"Even with the heavy schedule he's had this spring that was a good performance and if you didn't know that he'd run you'd say he was a fresh horse the way he galloped away from them.

"He jumped fantastically. Ruby let him pop a few and then asked him over the last two.

"The question is do we try and take on Sprinter Sacre next year? The Champion Chase looks the obvious one, but he could be a Gold Cup horse.

"I don't think he'll have any problem staying the way he pops away and that's what you need in a Gold Cup horse.

"He could go down the Gold Cup route, but Rich has a few Gold Cup horses. He could do anything, but I'd imagine the Champion Chase is the most likely.

"It's grass for him now and he'll come back next season. He's a big, immature horse still and has a huge, big frame. He could strengthen again over the summer, but we're just hoping he stays sound."

Other notable winners from today's action at Punchestown were Quantitativeeasing (9-4) in the Cross Country Chase and One Track Mind (10-1) who upset the odds to beat evens rated Alpha Des Obeaux.

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