Walsh praise for Vautour
Ruby Walsh hailed Vautour after he made the perfect start to his chasing career at Navan on Sunday.
The Willie Mullins-trained Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner was already prominent in the betting for the Cheltenham novice chases without even jumping a fence in public.
Those odds were made even shorter still as the five-year-old barely put a foot wrong, making every yard of the running before cruising to an eight-length success over Clarcam, who was good enough to be second in a Grade One last season.
Speaking to Racing UK, Walsh said: "He was natural, very sure of what he was doing. Too much confidence is a bad thing, but I thought he was super. He has plenty of scope, he was very clever and obviously he has a huge amount of ability.
"He gave Clarcam, who's not a bad horse, 12lb and Clarcam had had a race and he beat him quite soundly I thought.
"He was always a natural over hurdles and you expected him to be as good over a fence and he has been since day one. We've never had any issues with him and he's a pleasure to ride.
"If something wanted to go a good gallop in front I'd have had no problems, but he has a huge stride and wanted to use it - that's just the way it panned out.
"I stepped it up after the fourth last, he jumped the third last really well and when Clarcam landed behind me, I had to go a bit faster still and that's where I won the race. He absolutely winged the last.
"I thought it was a really good performance. Obviously his jumping will come under more pressure as he goes up in class, but you have to start somewhere and hopefully there's something left in the tank to build on."