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Vautour off to impressive start

Vautour put up an impeccable display as he made a winning debut over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Navan.

Last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle victor led from flag-fall and gave Ruby Walsh an armchair ride as he indicated he is sure to take high rank among the new recruits to fencing.

None of his 15 rivals could get close enough to give the 2-11 favourite a race and it was simply a case of getting over the fences for Willie Mullins' five-year-old, who did everything asked of him with aplomb and scored effortlessly by eight lengths from Clarcam.

Walsh said: "I thought he jumped super. I thought he was absolutely amazing at the fourth-last. He has loads of scope and only does what he has to do. I'm very happy.

"The first morning we schooled him he looked confident and was out the wings a little bit, but the second morning he was much better and today he was brilliant.

"I suppose there aren't many horses like him. What he did last year was spectacular. He always rode like a chaser to me even when he won his maiden hurdle here. I thought he'd be a great chaser. That was good today, but he has to build on it.

"The trip to him is inconsequential. You can do what you want."

Mullins added: "He jumped well and it's nice to see him pass his first test. I don't think he could have jumped any better.

"The fourth-last was the only fence he got a bit close to and I'd give him the benefit of the doubt because of the sun. For a novice he handled it well.

"Ruby asked him after the second-last and I was delighted the way he jumped the last after changing gear.

"The obvious thing is to go for the two-mile-one Grade One novice chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. We'll see if there's something before that or whether we wait for that, I don't know.

"His dam won from a mile and a half to three miles and being a Robin Des Champs, there's no reason why he won't stay."

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