The Kim Bailey trained Vinndication will be set the long-term aim of the Cheltenham Gold Cup this season after the chaser made a very pleasing return when finishing second to Cyrname in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Bailey is convinced that his seven year old is good enough to mix it with the best chasers in the sport and although currently a big priced 40/1 shot for the Grade One event in March, He made a comeback that he can build on.
(Credit) Bailey said: “I was delighted with his run at Wetherby. He slipped into the first fence, and it took a while to get his jumping back, but I was very happy with the horse.
“The ground wasn’t ideal up there, because it was pretty soft, but it confirmed in my mind that he is good enough to run in a Gold Cup – and I think we will be working back from that.
“Wetherby is two long straights with two tight bends. It is only just three miles, and all he was doing was finishing to good effect, so the Gold Cup trip of three and a quarter miles will be much more his distance.”
Although the handler was delighted with his star's second he had a lot of admiration for the winner Cyrname, who was just a class above the field when claiming his first victory since defeating Altior in a Grade Two at Ascot last November.
He added: “It was a very good performance by Cyrname, and I take my hat off to him.
“It was a brave shout by Paul Nicholls to do what he did, but that is why he has been champion trainer so many times.”
Bailey has not had a serious Gold Cup hope since his win in the event back in 1995 with Master Oats and believes Vinndication's next step on the road to the festival will be at Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury at the end of the month.
He added: “He will have entries in all the big races like the King George, but I would say that the Betfair Chase at Haydock might just come too soon.
“He is in the Ladbrokes Trophy, and that could be an option, but I’m not saying he is going there for definite. It will be interesting to see how the handicapper assesses it.”