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Vautour set for take-off in Ryanair Chase

David Metcalf | March 15, 2016

Vautour to fly high in Ryanair

Vautour looks a worthy red-hot favourite to secure a third Cheltenham Festival success in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase (14.50).

Trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins, the seven-year-old won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2014 and was one of the most impressive winners at last year’s Festival when romping to a facile 15 length success in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

Vautour made virtually all in the latter, jumped for fun and barely had to come out of second gear to slam Apache Stronghold.

Vautour

It was a sensational display of power and speed, and marked Vautour out as something very special.

Drop back in trip ideal

After making a workmanlike return to action when winning at Ascot, the son of Robin Des Champs ran a blinder when last seen in action at Kempton on Boxing Day and a head runner-up to Cue Card in the 3m King George.

Vautour looked all over the winner until getting tired close home, and the drop back to 2m 5f in this is sure to suit.

With connections making a shock last decision to run him in the race rather than have a crack at the Gold Cup, he is undoubtedly now the one to beat.

Gigginstown duo should not be underestimated

The main opposition to Vautour is provided by owners the Gigginstown House Stud in the shape of Road To Riches and Valseur Lido.

Road To Riches developed into a top class performer last season when winning three of his five starts, including the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.

Horse Racing - 2015 Cheltenham Festival - Gold Cup Day - Cheltenham Racecourse

The Noel Meade trained nine-year-old then ran an absolute stormer to finish third to Coneygree in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at this meeting, holding every chance at the last before being unable to find any extra close home to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths.

That is very strong form in the context of this contest, and Road To Riches comes into the race on the back of a decent effort when runner-up in the Irish Gold Cup where he looked ring rusty after a break and should now be spot on to do himself justice.

Valseur could pick up the pieces

With Road To Riches and Vautour both confirmed front runners, Valseur Lido could be the surprise package if they become involved in a battle and cut each others throats.

The seven-year-old looked to have the aforementioned Irish Gold Cup at his mercy last time out when when cruising into the lead at the last, only to buckle on the landing side and unseat Ruby Walsh.

Valseur Lido clearly has the talent to make an impact at this level, and the race is likely to be run to suit his stalking style.

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Coral’s top tip: Having been handed the easier option by connections, Vautour is going to be very hard to beat. Valseur Lido could be the surprise package.

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