What does the future hold for Vautour?
He came over from Ireland with a reputation taller than the Empire State Building, but Vautour lived up to all the hype when destroying his rivals in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in the manner of an exceptional horse with a hugely exciting future.
Willie Mullins’ gelding went into the Supreme having won his three races for the County Carlow handler without being asked a serious question and delivered in style on the big stage as he routed a high-class field by six lengths.
The 7/2 joint-favourite was always in command turning for home and when jockey Ruby Walsh asked him for a finishing kick, he took off up the hill to record a commanding success.
Speaking after the race, his handler said: “Apart from a blip at the second last, it looked like he was always going to win and when the crowd roared turning for home, he took off. It was an extraordinary performance – you could see the whole way to the winning post that he was just looking round and idling.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him over fences as he looks every inch a novice chaser. We think he’ll stay and he should be some chaser. I think he’ll be going over fences next season.”
Given the manner of his success, it is a bit of surprise that Mullins is considering sending him over fences next season rather than wait a year and have a crack at the Champion Hurdle first.
He was visually far more impressive than Champagne Fever, who beat My Tent or Yours in last year’s Supreme and the runner-up went on to run a blinder to finish runner-up to Jezki in the Champion Hurdle earlier in the week.
Given his huge engine and untapped potential, the Champion would seem a logical target and Coral go 6/1 about him winning it in 2015.
But with Mullins seemingly committed to going chasing, the Arkle is his obvious target at next year’s Festival.
Some 13 of the last 15 winners of the Arkle had been rated 142 or higher over hurdles and Vautour was rated 155 before his win in the Supreme.
Nine of the last 11 winners had also won at Cheltenham or been placed at the Festival before, so that is another huge plus as far as the stats are concerned.
Vautour’s claims are glaringly obvious and he could be one of the classiest hurdlers ever to line-up for the Arkle with his current rating of 155 set to rise significantly.
To put it into perspective, the brilliant Sprinter Sacre was rated 149 when he finished third in the Supreme in 2011 before going on to slam Cue Card by seven lengths in the Arkle 12 months later.
That suggests that Vautour could be something really special if taking to the larger obstacles and come next March he could once again be carrying the tag of the “Irish banker” if lining up for the 2m novice chase contest.