Dou­van to miss en­tire NH sea­son

Mullins con­firms star chaser has suf­fered in­jury to same leg as last sea­son

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page - BRIAN O’CON­NOR

The in­jury-plagued star chaser Dou­van looks set to miss the en­tire Na­tional Hunt sea­son due a pastern prob­lem.

Trainer Wil­lie Mullins re­vealed last Wed­nes­day how Dou­van had pulled up lame ear­lier that week but hoped it would be only a mi­nor set­back for a horse he has de­scribed as the best he’s trained.

How­ever, at Naas yes­ter­day Mullins re­vealed the prob­lem is more se­ri­ous. He also said the in­jury is on the same leg that cur­tailed Dou­van’s cam­paign dur­ing last sea­son and not as had been pre­vi­ously be­lieved.

“It looks like he’s out for the sea­son. It’s a lit­tle le­sion on a lit­tle ten­don at the back of his pastern. It’s sim­i­lar to what he had last year, but higher up,” he said.

“It’s an un­usual in­jury. The only time I can re­mem­ber it is with Dawn Run in the year she missed,” Mullins added.

It con­tin­ues a frus­trat­ing run for Dou­van who was out for a year be­tween a shock de­feat in the 2017 Queen Mother Cham­pion Chase and fall­ing in the same race last March. He was sub­se­quently run­ner-up to his sta­ble com­pan­ion Un De Sceaux at Punchestown.

Ire­land’s 2018 flat cam­paign wound up at Naas on Sun­day and Tony Martin claimed the last big hand­i­cap prize of the sea­son with Mr Ever­est.

Valu­able

It com­pleted a suc­cess­ful week­end for Martin who’d landed a valu­able hand­i­cap hur­dle at Down Royal the day be­fore through Golden Spear.

That horse fig­ured among the 20 orig­i­nal run­ners for the ¤100,000 Lo­cal Book­mak­ers Hand­i­cap but was de­clared a non non-run­ner due to ‘cough­ing.’

With one of Mullins’s 10 dec­la­ra­tions, Pakora, also a non-run­ner, Martin sup­plied two re­serves and the first of them, Mr Ever­est, jus­ti­fied mar­ket con­fi­dence hav­ing be­ing backed into one of the 7-1 co-favourites.

It con­firmed a re­turn to form for Martin’s string and the Co Meath trainer said: “Things are go­ing right for a change. Things weren’t go­ing right for long enough there. So it’s good. It’ll brighten up the win­ter!”

Shane Crosse can look for­ward to a win­ter study­ing for his Leav­ing Cert next year al­though he will do so as Ire­land’s newly crowned cham­pion ap­pren­tice jockey.

The 17-year-old hadn’t rid­den a win­ner be­fore the sea­son be­gan but brought his cham­pi­onship win­ning tally to 28 with a 16-1 suc­cess on Naad­heer in a maiden.

Dou­ble form

Crosse once again used his 7lb claim to good ef­fect when edg­ing out the 2017 cham­pion jockey Colin Keane by a neck.

Ai­dan O’Brien was in dou­ble form on the fi­nal day of an­other cham­pi­onship-win­ning sea­son.

Bal­ly­doyle’s ap­par­ent sec­ond-string An­tilles won the nurs­ery while the odds-on Turn­berry Isle com­fort­ably beat his sta­ble com­pan­ion Gen­tile Bellini in a ju­ve­nile maiden.

O’Brien’s dou­ble brought him to 152 win­ners in Ire­land this year worth prize­money of al­most ¤7 mil­lion. It’s a haul that gives him a 21st cham­pion trainer’s crown. His near­est ri­val was his son Joseph, who notched 85 win­ners in Ire­land worth nearly ¤2.5 mil­lion.

Colin Keane lost his jock­eys’ ti­tle to Don­nacha O’Brien (111 win­ners) but en­joyed a fi­nal day dou­ble for Ger Lyons. Erich Bloch won the opener while Mus­ta­jeer ran away with con­clud­ing Fi­nale Stakes.

Wil­lie Mullins said: “It looks like Dou­van is out for the sea­son”

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