Yorkhill: favourite for the JLT Novices’ Chase, but has other options
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Peter Scargill 2:00PM 7 FEB 2017
CHOICE. The problem is choice.
And while those words were uttered by the heroic Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, in the sci-fi epic The Matrix, it appears to be choice has the potential to cause Willie Mullins and his owners some headaches over the next few weeks as well.
For not only does Mullins have ‘super sub’ Vroum Vroum Mag to slot into the right race at the Cheltenham Festival, he also now has Yorkhill on his hands, a horse who seems capable of running just as well in any of his three potential festival targets.
Race: JLT Novices’ Chase
Best price: 9-4f (Paddy Power)
Price to run in this race: 5-6 (Paddy Power)
Pro: The most likely target for Yorkhill. He is a winner at 2m3f over fences, just shy of the JLT trip, and most of his best hurdles runs as a novice were over 2m4f. He is much the best horse in the race.
Con: Hard to see any. Although the JLT is on the third day of the festival, which means there are two extra days for things to go wrong…
Stan James Champion Hurdle
Best price: 6-1 (Ladbrokes)
Price to run in this race: 6-4 (Paddy Power)
Pro: Will he ever get a better chance to win one of the biggest races of the Cheltenham Festival and, indeed, the jumps season? The fact Buveur D’Air, who had been second favourite for the JLT, is now favourite surely shows how average the race is this year.
Con: Needs to be supplemented, although Graham and Andrea Wylie can afford to stump up the fee. May just lack the speed to strike at the top level, albeit he may not have to be a top notcher to win the race this season.
Racing Post Arkle
Best price: 9-1 (Betfair)
Price to run in this race: 9-2 (Paddy Power)
Pro: A winner at 2m over fences this season and, with no Min in the race, Altior would be the only serious rival he would have to face. Mullins has won the last two runnings of the race, while the Wylies captured it with Tidal Bay, so there is an emotional pull as well.
Con: Altior is rather darn good.