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Vautor makes foot perfect start to chasing career

Vautour put in a superb round of jumping to make a winning start over fences at Navan, and is now clear favourite for the Arkle Trophy at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Last seasons’s top novice hurdler, who was so impressive when landing the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, hardly had to break sweat to land the the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase by eight lengths.

Jockey Ruby Walsh decided to keep things simple on Vautour and lead from the drop of the flag and none of his 15 rivals could ever get close enough to land a blow.

The five-year-old jumped like an old hand and cruised clear to win as he liked from Grade 1 hurdle winner Clarcam in what was a very decent contest for the grade.

It was a performance which simply oozed class, and Vautour is going to be very tough to beat for the rest of the season and looks an exceptional prospect for a yard bursting at the seems with talent.

The big question now is whether Vautour will run in the Arkle over 2m at the Cheltenham Festival next March or step up in trip for the 2m 4f JLT Novices’ Chase

Coral make Vautour their 7/2 favourite (from 5s) for the former in which the Mullins yard also have the current 4/1 second favourite in Un Des Sceaux.

Connections are not surprisingly keeping both options open for Vautour, but Mullins’ believes that the son of Robin Des Champs will have no problem stepping up in trip.

He said: “His dam won from a mile and a half to three miles and being a Robin Des Champs, there’s no reason why he won’t stay.

“The obvious thing is to go for the 2m 1f Grade 1 novice chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. We’ll see if there’s something before that or whether we wait for that, I don’t know.”

To me, Vautour is one of the kost exciting chasing prospects seen for many a year and if all goes to plan he is going to be very tough to beat in whichever race he lines up in at the Festival.