Ruby Walsh says Vautour is likely to take in the King George VI Chase at Kempton in December en route to a bid for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.
Vautour was one of the most exciting novice chasers of last season, with his wide-margin victory in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival one of the most talked about performances of the last 12 months.
Walsh believes the Willie Mullins-trained Vautour is a tailor-made Gold Cup contender although he has all but ruled the possibility of a bid for the new £1m bonus on offer for winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the King George and the Gold Cup.
“I’ve always thought Vautour would be a Gold Cup horse and why wouldn’t you aim for the race with him? He’s a galloper… but has a high cruising speed and jumped good horses into the ground in the JLT at the Festival,” Walsh said in his latest RUK blog.
“He’ll go for the King George and we’ll know a lot more after then. I’m not sure if he’d be ready for the Grade 1 at Haydock.”
Vautour has a perfect record at Cheltenham, having added the JLT to his 2014 triumph in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
He looks to hold outstanding claims of bringing champion trainer Mullins a first ever success in the Gold Cup, while the Irish supremo will also attempt to add to his 2001 King George victory with Florida Pearl.
No Irish-trained horse has won the Boxing Day showpiece at Kempton since Kicking King in 2005.
Vautour is 4.00 to land the King George VI Chase while he is 5.00 for Gold Cup glory.