Kempton preview: Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase (13.25)
David Metcalf | December 24, 2015
Vaniteux created a huge impression when making a winning debut over fences, and can get the better of Ar Mad to land a fascinating renewal of the Wayward lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Sunday (13.25).
The Nicky Henderson trained gelding had some top class form to his name as a hurdler, including when a cracking third of 18 to Vautour in the 2014 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Vaniteux also ran very well on several occasions last season, finishing runner-up under top weight in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham before chasing home The New One and Rocky On Ruby in decent contests at the same venue.
Although the six-year-old failed to cut any ice when well beaten in the Champion Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle on his final two starts of the campaign, connections always believed that he would make up into a very smart chaser.
Vaniteux a worthy favourite
That view was confirmed when Vaniteux bolted up over course and distance here at Kempton last month in the manner of a well-above average recruit to the chasing ranks.
The son of Voix Du Nord cruised along at the head of affairs, and after quickening three from home won easing down by 19 lengths from Qewy.
Vaniteux jumped superbly throughout to win with his head in his chest, and it was a performance which oozed class and saw him installed as 8/1 second favourite with Coral for the 2016 Arkle Challenge Trophy.
To me Vaniteux looks the real deal, and a I fully expect him to come through this test with flying colours en route to much better things.
Ar punters Mad to bet against Vaniteux?
Ar Mad destroyed a good field last time out in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown and looks the obvious danger.
The Gary Moore trained gelding jumped well and made all at a blistering pace, finding plenty to surge clear up the straight and beat the highly regarded Bristol De Mai by 10 lengths.
It was a very taking performance, and the race was run in a quicker time than the Grade 1 Tingle Creek won by Ar Mad’s stable companion Sire De Grugy.
That gives the form a solid look, and Ar Mad is sure to blast off in front and try and make this a real test.
The big question is whether he will have enough reserves to hang on, as Vaniteux is a strong travelling sort who relishes a quickly run race and has a potent turn of foot.
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