Trying to find a selection to take on one horse in a race six weeks away, shouldn’t be this tough, but simply put, Un De Sceaux looks a proverbial Arkle banker, even at this early stage.
Willie Mullins’ charge looked imperious in running out a cosy victory at Leopardstown last weekend, and as it stands is a 4/6 favourite for the second race at the Cheltenham Festival.
Now, while it may seem silly to think he won’t win the race, taking the price so far in advance looks even more foolish.
Therefore, like Tom Segal in the Racing Post, we are forced to find one at a big price.
One thing that looks likely in this race, is that it will cut up.
Frank Berry, racing manager to JP McManus stated after Gilgamboa (16/1) was smashed by Un De Sceaux; “Willie Mullins’ horse was way too good for him in the Arkle at Leopardstown and we won’t be taking him on again at Cheltenham.”
Therefore we are plumping for one definitely all set to take his chance in Vibrato Valtat (14/1).
Paul Nicholls’ charge had been tricky to win with last season, often saving something for himself when hitting the front.
But a switch to fences seems to have brought out the best in him, winning three of his four chase starts.
His only defeat came over the Arkle course and distance when he was second to Dunraven Storm (33/1). He looked to have been left too much to do that day, and was staying on strongly up the hill, so is well fancied to reverse that form.
The grey jumps well and stays further, which could be vital in that notorious climb during the final couple of furlongs.
But perhaps even more important is that he doesn’t lack pace.
The short-priced favourite is likely to go blitzing off out in front and the chasing pack will need to ensure that he doesn’t get too far away at an early stage, and Vibrato Valtat can ensure that.
He handles all ground, so whereas a decent surface is an unknown for Un De Sceaux, a going description with ‘good’ in it will be right up our pick’s street.
Pricewise’s pick Sgt Reckless will be another hoping to usurp the likes of Josses Hill (8/1) for the placings (and maybe cause a shock), but we are fairly happy to keep this grey on our side come Festival week.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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