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Douvan to attract racegoers to Punchestown

IRELAND'S highest-rated chaser Douvan will be the star on show at Punchestown on Sunday when lining up in the Boylesports Tied Cottage Chase.

The seven-year-old is unbeaten in all 12 of his races for trainer Willie Mullins, accumulating eight Grade 1s already, and will look to extend his winning sequence when facing just three rivals in this Grade 2 contest.

That is the conundrum with having Douvan at your meeting I guess. He scares off the opposition but his Peter Pan aura tends to attract racegoers.

Also lining up for the €45,000 contest is the Mouse Morris-trained Smashing, a multiple winner on heavy ground, Gordon Elliott’s Realt Mor, who was a Grade 1 winner over fences as a novice, and Draycott Place, who is aiming to give Tipperary-based trainer John Ryan the biggest success of his training career.

Sunday’s racing at Punchestown also features the National Trial over 3m4f and an intriguing field of seven runners go to post for the opening INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle including the Willie Mullins trained pair, Cilaos Emery and Camelia De Cotte. You would be hoping the former, a bumper winner at the festival on this track last April, confirms the impression he made when trouncing the more experienced Joey Sasa on debut in Navan last December, although his stablemate was an even more facile winner of an admittedly lower-quality event at Tramore three days earlier. Neither had any difficulty with conditions (soft to heavy and heavy respectively) so the going won't be offered as an excuse if they fail to run up to expectations. 

The Punchestown going at present is listed assoft to heavy. Further rain is expected today and it will be heavy at times. Tomorrow is supposed to be dry with frost forecast for Saturday night. It will be very, very testing conditions. Punchestown will be using the inside on the hurdle course for the first circuit and finishing on the main straight.

Racing gets under way at 1.30pm.

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