Back

Vyta Du Roc can collect in classy Challow Hurdle

The big race of the day on a cracking card at Newbury is the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2.10), and Vyta Du Roc holds outstanding claims of landing the spoils and completing the five-timer.

The gelding shaped with promise in two runs in juvenile hurdles in France, and won both his starts in facile fashion back in the summer after joining Nicky Henderson.

The five-year-old barely had to break sweat in the first of those at Uttoxeter when sauntering clear to win easing down by 10 lengths, and followed up with a very comfortable 2 1/4 length success at Hexham.

Although Vyta Du Roc didn’t beat much in those contests, the manner of his victories suggested he had a huge engine and was a very exciting prospect who needing keeping firmly onside.

That view was confirmed on seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham last month where the son of Lion Noir landed a Grade 2 contest over 2m 1f in good style.

Vyta Du Roc got outpaced three from home after making a mistake at the fourth last, but then rallied strongly up the hill to get up close home and win going away by a neck from Emerging Talent.

The pair pulled 13 lengths clear of the third to give the form a solid look, and Vyta Du Roc has since gone on to defy a penalty with a battling success in a Grade 2 contest at Sandown over 2m 4f.

The latter victory suggested that Vyta would have no problems with today’s extra furlong, and with Barry Geraghty in the saddle he looks the one they all have to beat.

The obvious danger is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Blaklion who was unbeaten in two bumper runs and has won three of his four starts over hurdles.

The five-year-old was particularly impressive when landing a Grade 2 contest over 3m at Cheltenham earlier in the month, travelling strongly throughout and storming clear to win by 11 lengths.

Blaklion looks a smart prospect judged on that runaway success, and if coping with the drop back in trip is going to give Vyta Du Roc plenty to think about.