Ruby walsh and Willie Mullins got Thursday at Cheltenham off to a flier for the Irish as Vautour landed the Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase.
Last year’s Supreme Novice was sent off a well-backed 6/4 favourite and he justified those odds, making all with a jumping masterclass to lead home an Irish 1-2-3.
The Noel Meade-trained Apache Stronghold was second while Mullins’ second string, Valseur Lido, ran on well into third in the hands of Bryan Cooper.
“The morning we started schooling Vautour, we said ‘He’s too good’,” Walsh beamed.
“We thought last year he was a very special horse. Willie, he had his eye on one target and he nailed it.”
1.30pm – JLT Novices’ Chase
1st – Vautour (6/4 fav)
2nd – Apache Stronghold (7/1)
3rd – Valseur Lido (9/2)
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