Willie Mullins' Douvan has been cut to clear favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham next March following his demolition job in winning the Grade 2 sportinglife.com Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown today.
The French bred gelding was held up behind the leaders by jockey Ruby Walsh for much of the trip and while he was never at any stage 'unleashed', moved to the front from the final flight to score hard held from Alpha Des Obeaux.
On closer examination, Walsh in fact took a significant pull after jumping the final flight and the gelding still sauntered to a three and three quarters of a length win.
Mullins, who earlier teamed up with Walsh to win the opener with Jarry D'Honneur, later reported â€œhe did that nicely. He jumped and galloped and did everything that he does at home; he does things very easy.
"That race on paper looked stronger than the one Vautour (winner of last year's renewal) won last year and I don't think ground or trip make any difference to him and I'd imagine he'll go straight to Cheltenham now.â€
Supreme Novice: 3/1 (from 4/1) with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power and also 3/1 (from 9/2) with Boylesports.
Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Boylesports all subsequently cut Douvan to 3/1 clear favourite (from joint-favourite) for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.
By Tom Weekes, quotes from Alan Magee