Vautour dazzles in JLT

Vautour dazzles in JLT

Vautour bounced right back to his brilliant best to win the JLT Novices’ Chase by a wide margin at the Cheltenham Festival.

An impressive winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season, the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old had a question to answer having been beaten at Christmas, but the market vibes were strong.

He never missed a beat under Ruby Walsh and put in some spectacular leaps on the way round, having the rest of the field in trouble from some way out.

Stablemate Valseur Lido briefly looked a threat, along with Apache Stronghold and Ptit Zig, but Vautour sprinted clear off the home turn and the 6-4 favourite put 15 lengths distance between himself and the rest.

Apache Stronghold just upheld the form with Valseur Lido from the Flogas Chase, but in truth there was only one in it.

Walsh said: “He wasn’t right at Christmas, but from the first time we started schooling him I was taken with him.

“This lad has it all. He was going his own speed – I’m taken with him. There’s some summer dreaming to be done with this one.”

Owner Rich Ricci said: “I can’t ever remember seeing a novice jump like that at Cheltenham.

“He’s a different horse round here, for some reason.

“It was unbelievable, breathtaking, actually.

“We’ll step up in distance next season and see where we go.”

Mullins said: “I’ve loved this horse all the time, but I had to really work hard at him for the last three weeks.

“We were probably minding him too much earlier in the season.

“I thought the race was over turning for home, it was just a case of jumping, and he absolutely flew over the last two.”

Mullins, bagging his sixth winner of the week, went on: ``He was good the first day, but then things went wrong at Christmas. He won the last day and then I've been very hard on him to try and get him back in last year's form. He's just turned a corner, but he needed all that hard work.

“We’ve managed to keep the good horses apart this year, we might come to England a bit more and France.

“Dermot, who looks after Vautour, is a fluent Japanese speaker and went over there with Blackstairmountain so we may even look at that again, that’s another option.”

RaceBets make Vautour the 4-1 favourite from 12-1 for next year’s Gold Cup.

More on this topic

Mullins breaks Cheltenham record with eighth winnerMullins breaks Cheltenham record with eighth winner

Carberry claims Foxhunter Chase with On The FringeCarberry claims Foxhunter Chase with On The Fringe

Coneygree wins Gold Cup in only fourth race over fencesConeygree wins Gold Cup in only fourth race over fences

Another Mullins wins at Cheltenham claiming Bartlett Novices HurdleAnother Mullins wins at Cheltenham claiming Bartlett Novices Hurdle

More in this Section

Coronavirus wrap: Wayne Rooney and Gordon Taylor answer football’s criticsCoronavirus wrap: Wayne Rooney and Gordon Taylor answer football’s critics

The dawn of a fascinating new chapter for Irish footballThe dawn of a fascinating new chapter for Irish football

Michael Moynihan: Letter on an anniversaryMichael Moynihan: Letter on an anniversary

The winners’ enclosure: Ireland’s 15 greatest jockeysThe winners’ enclosure: Ireland’s 15 greatest jockeys


Lifestyle

Easy and cost-effective ways you can spruce up your home. By Carol O’CallaghanStaying in is the new going out: Easy and cost-effective ways to spruce up your home

Need a funny, hopeful read? Hannah Stephenson rounds up the best.10 uplifting books to cheer you up on dark days

Esther N McCarthy put the call out to Irish crafters and grafters this week. Let's support our local makers, all of these are available onlineWish List: Supporting Irish crafters selling online

Shane Johnson takes a look (and listen) at two recent electronic full-lengths.Album reviews: Wajatta and Takeleave provide beats and pieces

More From The Irish Examiner