Past Winners » Killultagh Vic


There is no doubt that Shaneshill’s last two runs have been very good. He split Douvan and Sizing John in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle before he ran out a facile winner at Fairyhouse over two and a half miles. However, it appeared that he had been outstayed by No More Heroes over two and a half miles at Navan previously, and, while there may have been mitigating circumstances there to some degree (he didn’t race again after that before Cheltenham), there has to be a question mark about the three miles for him today. In a competitive race, he is very short.

No More Heores is the obvious one to capitalise again, but he had a really tough race in the Albert Bartlett on really tough ground. That race was an attritional contest this year, as it often is and, much as I like the horse – he could be an RSA Chase horse for next season – I am happy to leave him alone at 3/1.

I am backing Thistlecrack and Killultagh Vic. Thistlecrack had been on my radar after his run at Ascot, but that was over two miles, so it was a surprise to see him do what he did in the Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree, stepping right up to three miles.

There doesn’t look to be any fluke about that performance though. Settled towards the rear, he made nice progress down the back straight and moved up behind Alpha Des Obeaux, who had gone for home, at the top of the home straight. It quickly became apparent that Thistlecrack was travelling better and it looked like he had the measure of Alpha Des Obeaux when the Gigginstown House horse fell at the final flight.

Thistlecrack was able to be eased up with about 100 yards to run to post a really impressive victory, 13 lengths clear of Vyta Du Roc, who probably would have finished second in the Neptune Hurdle at Cheltenham but for making a terrible mistake at the final flight. Also, Thistlecrack’s time was good, faster than Racing Post par and the fastest of the four races that were run on the hurdles course on the day.

I don’t think that Colin Tizzard’s horse has been given enough credit for that performance, and he clearly has the potential to be very good over three miles. This will be his sixth run of 2015, and it is less than three weeks after Aintree, but any concerns regarding a long season or a tough recent race are more than factored into odds of 8/1.

Killultagh Vic is also worth backing. Although he only got home narrowly off a mark of 135 in the conditionals’ race at Cheltenham when we had him on side, he travelled like the well-handicapped horse that he threatened to be. Ridden patiently, he travelled nicely, crept closer at the top of the hill and continued to edge closer out wide down the hill. The way he cruised up from the second last flight and around the home turn was really likeable, and he was still travelling smoothly passing the two-furlong pole.

He and Noble Endeavour had gone a little way clear over the last and he was about half a length up, but he landed a little flat-footed, Noble Endeavor got away from it quicker and had the upper hand setting off up the run-in. Therefore, there was a lot to like about the manner in which Killultagh Vic responded and got back up late on to win.

By Old Vic out of a Phardante mare, Willie Mullins’ horse shapes like he will have no problems staying three miles. Actually, he could well improve for it. The way he travelled at Cheltenham suggests that he is an improving horse. That was only his fourth run over hurdles after all, and he has plenty of scope to continue to progress.

He wasn’t far behind Shaneshill as a bumper horse last term (he finished just three and a half lengths behind him at Cheltenham having not had a clear run) and he could be the better suited of the pair to today’s test.