Punchestown Festival: Compensation awaits for ultra-classy Vautour
David Metcalf | April 25, 2016
Vautour impossible to oppose in Champion Chase
Vautour blotted his copybook when falling last time out but looks a worthy red-hot favourite with Coral to get back to winning ways in the Grade 1 Champion Chase on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival (17.30).
The Willie Mullins trained seven-year-old is a triple winner at the Cheltenham Festival having claimed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2014, the JLT Novices’ Chase in 2015, and this year’s 2m 5f Ryanair Chase in impressive fashion.
Vautour looked awesome in the latter, travelling ominously well on the heels of the leaders before taking up the lead and cruising clear two from home.
The gelding then barely had to come out of second gear to saunter up the hill and beat Valseur Lido by six lengths.
Vautour was value for much more than the winning margin and it was a stunning display of power and speed.
The son of Robin Des Champs is clearly something very special, and although he fell at the ninth in the Melling Chase at Aintree when last seen in action that was uncharacteristic as he is normally a superb jumper.
Vautour also has a very high cruising speed and won’t be inconvenienced by the drop back to 2m, and possesses a potent turn of pace.
A rating of 176 also gives Vautour 8lb and upwards in hand on his rivals, and granted a clear round this race looks his for the taking.
Special Tiara the forecast choice
Simonsig, who is unbeaten in three runs over fences and won the Arkle in 2013, is a fascinating on his second start after a lengthy lay-off but Special Tiara looks the more likely one for the forecast.
The Henry de Bromhead trained nine-year-old is a tough and consistent sort who ran a blinder when third to Sprinter Scare in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
Special Tiara raced up with the pace throughout and after getting outpaced two from home stuck to the task really well to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths.
The winner is one of the best 2m chasers ever seen and has since won the Celebration Chase at Sandown in scintillating fashion, and the form reads very well in the contest of this contest.
However, Special Tiara has 8lb to find with Vautour on official ratings and is going to need that rival to underperform to land the spoils.
Coral’s top tip: Vautour is a class act and impossible to oppose. Special Tiara rarely runs a bad race and looks the one to chase him home.