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'Ruby was just a bit gobsmacked' - Mullins and Walsh stunned by Douvan flop

It continued a frustrating start to the Cheltenham Festival for the pair.

WILLIE MULLINS AND Ruby Walsh have expressed their shock following Douvan’s poor performance at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Earlier today, the Queen Mother Champion Chase saw Special Tiara (11/1) emerge as the surprise winner.

Douvan — a two-time past victor at the festival — was previously on a 13-race winning streak, but finished unplaced at today’s event.

It continued a frustrating start to the festival for Mullins and Walsh, who are both still looking for their first victory at Cheltenham 2017.

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“We were beaten a long way out, he didn’t jump well. He didn’t feel right and he never got going,” Walsh told reporters after the race.

To me he was clearly not going well at the top of the hill,” added Mullins. “I’m assuming something happened to him when he put in those huge jumps. I don’t think he’s ever done that before. Why he did that I don’t know. I would imagine we’ll find a physical problem rather than anything else.

“Ruby was just a bit gobsmacked. He didn’t jump with his usual fluency. Usually we find something wrong when something like that happens. I think he probably pulled something, maybe a muscle or a ligament and hopefully it’s something that will come right straightaway.”

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Paul Fennessy

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