2017 Cheltenham Festival market movers: Douvan, Outlander and Vroum Vroum Mag cut for glory
David Metcalf | 2 January 2017
Douvan dazzles yet again in Cashcard Chase
Douvan is now 1/2 (from 4/6) with Coral for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday, March 15th, following another facile success in the Grade 1 Cashcard Chase at Leopardstown.
The Willie Mullins trained six-year-old raced prominently throughout before taking up the running two from home to draw effortlessly clear and beat Sizing John by eight lengths.
It was yet another awesome display of speed and power and Douvan won without hardly having to break sweat.
He has now won all eight of his starts over fences, including the Arkle Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, and is unbeaten in 12 starts since joining Mullins.
It is impossible to pick any holes in what Douvan has achieved so far and he is undoubtedly a very special and exceptional horse who deserves to be such a short price for the Queen Mother.
Barring accidents the 2m feature contest on day two of the Festival looks his for the taking.
Outlander cut for Gold Cup glory after game success in Lexus
Outlander emerged as a lively outsider for the Cheltenham Gold Cup when running out the game winner of the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
The Gordon Elliott trained gelding showed tremendous guts to dig deep on the run-in and fend off the challenges of Don Poli and Djakadam by 21/4 lengths and a head respectively.
In doing so he provided 17-year-old Jack Kennedy with his first Grade 1 winner and a 100th success in what has been an unbelievable start to his career.
Outlander is now 16/1 (from 33s) with Coral for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 17th, and could well have a hand to play in national hunt racing’s blue riband contest if stable companion and reigning champion Don Cossack fails to come back from injury.
Whilst he looks to have a mountain to climb to beat the current red-hot favourite Thistlecrack following that one’s stunning success in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, Outlander is clearly on an upward curve and is a really tough sort who could well be capable of making the frame if continuing to progress.
Vroum Vroum Mag hoovers up another Grade 1 success
Vroum Vroum Mag held off the late thrust of stablemate Clondaw Warrior to win the Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown and is now 2/1 joint-favourite (from 5/2) with Coral for the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 14th.
The 8/15 favourite cruised through the race and looked set to win comfortably in the hands of a confident Ruby Walsh, but after jumping the last she began to run on empty and had to dig deep as her rider was forced to get very animated in the final 100 yards.
In the end Vroum Vroum Mag held on to win by 1 1/4 lengths and it could well be that she only just managed to see out the 3m trip.
To my eyes she does not seem the ideal type for the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival and the Mares’ run over a shorter trip of 2m 4f, which she won back in March, looks the obvious target once again.
The Willie Mullins trained seven-year-old shares favouritism for the race with Apple’s Jade, who beat her a short-head when they met in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse at the beginning of the month, and a fascinating rematch now looks on the cards.