Cheltenham Festival: Douvan and Ruby Walsh deliver in Arkle Challenge Trophy

Douvan made virtually all the running as he justified the status of a first-day banker with an effortless victory in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham.

Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 1:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 1:54 pm
Douvan ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last fence on the way to winning the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase during Champion Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo

Vaniteux tried to put it up to the Willie Mullins hotpot at the second-last but made a bad mistake, giving Nico de Boinville no chance of staying in the saddle.

Baltimore Rock came down independently at the same fence when at the rear.

Ruby Walsh had barely moved a muscle on Douvan and the 1-4 shot, owned by Rich Ricci, bounded clear of the opposition to give connections quick compensation for the defeat of Min in the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

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The always-prominent Sizing John (9-1) was second, seven lengths adrift.

Ricci said: "He's just very good isn't he, he's very, very exciting. It's effortless, isn't it - he's got everything. He's certainly the best we've had."

Walsh said: "He was very good, very assured in his jumping. He only did what he had to do, really. He's very, very good in front. He jumped super and travelled really well.

"Willie is not a boisterous person, but he's never hidden the regard he holds this horse. He's an incredible horse."

Mullins said: "It's fantastic to get on the board. Hopefully he just keep winning. He stays and settles. He did that little thing at the last, but it didn't seem to bother him. We think he could be anything."