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Vautour Set For Ryanair Chase Test, As Gold Cup Plans Are Quashed

Tuesday 15th March 2016

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Vautour will bid for a hat-trick of Prestbury Park wins this week, but while many had expected the Rich Ricci-owned seven-year-old to take his place in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, it was announced on Tuesday morning that he will take his chance in the Ryanair Chase the day before.

Vautour was hovering around the 9/2 mark for the Gold Cup, with a raft of rumours veering towards his involvement in the blue riband event, but the aforementioned Ricci announced to a shocked Morning Line audience that his former Supreme Novices' Hurdle and JLT Novices' Chase winner will instead head to Cheltenham on Thursday for the 2m 4f 166y Grade 1 Ryanair Chase.

Having been touched off in the King George VI Chase by Cue Card on Boxing Day, the Willie Mullins-trained charge was expected to lock horns again with Colin Tizzard's pride and joy in the Gold Cup, but betting exchange vibes over the last 24 hours raised the idea that Vautour could drop back in trip and compete in the Ryanair Chase.

Bookmakers across the board were quick to react to the breaking news, and while he was scratched from the Gold Cup betting, he was instantly slashed to a shade of odds-on, with 4/6 being the popular price with bookmakers about him landing his third Grade 1 win at Cheltenham on day three of the meeting.

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