Kim Bailey's leading light Vinndication will head to the Cheltenham festival in March off the back of only one run over fences this season and is set to be entered into the Ultima Handicap on day one at Prestbury Park.
This seven year old has been a solid recruit for the talented yard winning his only point to point and bumper before he extended that when taken over hurdles winning all three of his hurdle contests.
In November 2018 he was sent over the larger obstacles and again took to the task well winning his first two races at Carlisle and Ascot before being entered into the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown and being firmly put in his place by the superstar duo of Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation.
He went to the festival after that and again in black type company was outclassed in the JLT Novices Chase finishing fifth of 10 runners.
This season he has been campaigned very lightly only running once but it came in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot over three miles and that step up in trip seemed to bring some huge improvement out of him.
Staying in handicap company for the Cheltenham festival makes him a big player with his past credentials and being fresh ahead of the meeting is another bonus.
(Credit At The Races) Bailey reports his charge to be firing on all cylinders ahead of an intended return at Prestbury Park and said: “He worked very well on Wednesday. We were delighted with that and he’s on course for the Ultima, all being well.
“He had a bone bruise over Christmas, which meant he wasn’t able to run in the race at Ascot just before Christmas.
“He’s been up with Jason Maguire on his water treadmill, which has done him the world of good, and we’re very happy with what we’ve seen since he’s come back. It’s all systems go.
“I think he’s got a lot of class. We were slightly disappointed he got beaten at Sandown last year, but he’s had a wind operation since then and we were only beaten a couple of lengths by Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation – it was a pretty good run really.
“He went to Cheltenham last year and made a couple of mistakes, which he has learnt from. The form of all his races has been good and he’s an out-and-out stayer with a bit of speed.”