Walsh full of hope for Vautour
Ruby Walsh reckons Vautour is "going in the right direction" to emulate Champagne Fever and win the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, for which he is a 4/1 favourite with the race sponsors.
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Walsh was able to dictate the pace he wanted from the front in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday, but took issue with suggestions that his mount had enjoyed 'the run of the race'.
"He had to make his own running but he went a good gallop and jumped well, I didn't think he had the run of the race and I thought he did it the hard way and thought he was very good," Walsh told Racing UK. "He quickened up smartly in the straight and saw it out really well.
"I was speaking to Willie [Mullins, winning trainer] after and he'll probably go back in trip at Cheltenham but it was a good performance yesterday in beating The Tullow Tank who was arguably 'the form novice'.
"He did see it out really well but he doesn't lack pace either. He was in my hands all the way and I could have gone a better gallop on him. He jumps, he has pace and he stays so you'd have to imagine that he'd have a good chance in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle."
While Sunday's victory came in soft ground, Walsh - like Mullins - said he was hopeful the prospect of better conditions at Cheltenham would prove no issue.
"He's a Robin Des Champs so you'd be hoping that he would appreciate better ground as most of them do and he's a pretty light actioned horse," he went on. "I guess you never know until you run them on it but you'd be hopeful.
"Vautour has a fair bit to live up to to be as good as Champagne Fever but he's going in the right direction."