Special Tiara Ends Douvan’s Unbeaten Run In Queen Mother
Written 10 months ago by Will O'Callaghan
Special Tiara produced a brilliant frontrunning performance to see off all challengers and take the Queen Mother Champion Chase under Noel Fehily, as Douvan’s unbeaten record came to the flattest of finales in the Cheltenham sunshine.
From the very first fence, punters who took the 2/9 about Douvan which made him one of the shortest-priced favourites ever seen at the Festival might have wondered if they were in trouble, as he produced a mixed round of fencing and never travelled with any of his characteristic poise.
When Ruby Walsh asked him for an effort travelling to the second-last fence, the response was for him to drop right out of contention.
In contrast, Noel Fehily, who had wrested a clear lead from Garde La Victoire heading out with a circuit to run, had tried to keep something up his sleeve in front. Without asking for everything, he eked out a little more effort from the 11/1 winner, third in this race for both of the last two seasons.
Steadily the pack were closing on him, with God’s Own and Sir Valentino both bearing down two out, but Special Tiara was still two and a half lengths in front over the last and he kept on all the way to the winning post to hold the strong-finishing Fox Norton by a head with Sir Valentino making late gains to take third place.
Douvan eventually finished seventh, a dozen lengths behind the winner.
Image – Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe