Killultagh Vic has been all the rage for the JLT Novices Chase, run on the Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival, after Ruby Walsh picked him up off the floor to win a novice chase at 2/7 – but he won’t be able to recover from a mistake like that at the Cheltenham Festival.
With a clear round, last year’s Martin Pipe Hurdle winner could well win, and the form of his novice hurdle win at last year’s Punchestown Festival could hardly have worked out better, as he had Thistlecrack, Shaneshill and No More Heroes behind – but at 5/2 he’s begging to be taken on at this stage.
So here’s some of his potentially most-interesting rivals, and our ante-post tip.
Bristol De Mai 12/1
Beaten by Ar Mad and Garde La Victoire in his first two chases, but those were both over 2-miles, and he’s impressed in winning his last 2 chases over 2½ miles. Heavy ground would make him a live contender, but may lack a bit of pace on faster ground, and connections are considering the RSA.
Sizing John 14/1
Won 4 of his last 8 starts, and was placed behind Douvan in the other 4. Unproven beyond 2-miles, but would be of interest if connections opt to avoid Douvan by running in this rather than the Arkle.
Most of his races have been over 2-miles, but showed useful form over 2½ miles over hurdles at Cheltenham behind Rock On Ruby. Trainer also has L’ami Serge for the Arkle, and there must be a chance that Vaniteux will line-up here with a great chance.
3rd in last year’s Coral Cup off 147, and won his second novice chase. Looks an obvious target but, as he may lack a touch of class, connections may be tempted by a handicap.
Un Temps Pour Tout 33/1
Rated 156 over hurdles when winning a French grade-1 in April, but has frustrated in 3 novice chases this season, not seeming to stay 3-miles, but lacking the pace for 2½ miles. Interesting if he gets an easy lead, but is another who might go handicapping.
Two years ago he finished just 4½ lengths behind Faugheen in the Neptune Hurdle, but injury followed. Slowly getting the hang of chasing and, with plenty of course form, he could outrun his big odds granted his preferred good ground. Connections may be tempted by a handicap though.
In the hope that trainer Nicky Henderson thinks L’Ami Serge is his main hope for the Arkle, the classy Vaniteux looks worth a small bet at 16/1, as he’ll be much shorter than that on race day, and he would have a genuine chance of beating Killultagh Vic.
Vaniteux 1 point @ 16/1 (Ladbrokes)