Twice a winner in bumpers, he developed into a high-class hurdler, and finished last season by winning a handicap at Cheltenham and following up in a Grade 1 at Punchestown, a race in which Thistlecrack, Shaneshill and No More Heroes were amongst the vanquished.
While the latter race was over three miles, and an argument could be made that some of those in behind didn’t run up to their best, runner-up Thistlecrack gave the form a real boost when making a most impressive return in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
Trainer Willie Mullins has always maintained chasing would be Killultagh Vic’s game, and this looks a good opportunity to make a winning start.
While the two-mile trip may be on the sharp side, he won a bumper over the trip when making all, and similarly positive tactics can be expected today. He is readily preferred to Rogue Trader.
Mullins should also be on the mark with Gangster in the Grade 3 Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle.
A promising sort, he made a winning debut for this stable at Roscommon before disappointing on unsuitably quick ground at the Galway Festival.
However, he bounced back on testing conditions at the Listowel Festival, and left the impression there was plenty more to come.
Stepping up to three miles for the first time ought to prompt further improvement, and he can take this en route to better things.
The danger may come from Cogryhill, who was behind one of today’s rivals, Last Encounter, on his most recent start.
That was not a true reflection of his ability and if he can bounce back, he can give the fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned Gangster most to think about.
Sub Lieutenant could be value in the three-mile beginners’ chase. The Sandra Hughes-trained gelding was quite disappointing when a well-beaten third behind Killer Miller on his chasing debut but caught the eye in defeat behind No More Heroes in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices’ Chase at Fairyhouse next time.
Although no match for the principals, it was certainly an improved performance, and the drop back to this company offers plenty of hope. Gigginstown House Stud’s retained rider, Bryan Cooper, prefers Roi Des Francs, who ran well when runner-up behind Monksland on his first start over fences.
There wasn’t a lot between them over hurdles and, at this stage, there isn’t much to separate them over fences. With that in mind, this could be the time to side with Sub Lieutenant, who looks the value option with Jonathan Burke booked to ride.