Aintree 2015: Manifesto Novices’ Chase preview (13:40)
Josses Hill posted a career-best effort over fences when third in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, and is going to be tough to beat in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree (13:40) if building on that run.
The seven-year-old was a top class hurdler, finishing runner-up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle before landing a Grade 2 contest at this venue.
Trainer Nicky Henderson always believed that he would make up into an even better chaser, but the gelding looked far from a natural in his first three starts over the larger obstacles.
Josses Hill raced far too keenly and made a series of mistakes when runner-up to Ptit Zig on chasing debut at Ascot, before going to to score next time up at Doncaster by 2 1/4 lengths from Solar Impulse when jumping carefully and giving the fences too much daylight.
The old errors then resurfaced when Josses Hill was beaten 3/4 of a length by Third Intention in a four-runner affair at Kempton, but connections didn’t lose faith and after intense schooling sessions the son of Winged Love ran a stormer to finish third of 11 to Un De Sceaux in the Arkle.
Josses Hill jumped far better and, after getting outpaced at the 10th, stayed on really well to be beaten eight lengths in the 2m Grade 1 contest.
The step up to 2m 4f in this looks sure to suit judged on the way he finished off the race and, providing his jumping holds up, I fancy Josses Hill to confirm the Arkle form with main challenger Vibrato Valtat.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, this trained gelding finished one place and eights lengths behind Josses Hill at the Festival but, although Vibrato Valtat may have paid the price for trying to keep tabs on the runaway leader, I don’t think that there were any real excuses.
The six-year-old seemed in the ideal staking position approaching three from home, but found disappointingly little when push came to shove having appeared to have been travelling strongly.
Prior to that Vibrato had won four of his five starts over fences, including a Grade 1 contest at Sandown, and looked a very smart prospect.
However, a big bounce back is now required following his run in the Arkle and given that Vibrato Valtat is a speedy type I am not convinced that the step up in trip will suit the son of Voix Du Nord as much as Josses Hill.