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Published: 15:32 | 17/3/16

Classy Vautour wins Ryanair Chase

Easy win for Walsh-Mullins team

Vautour showed his class as he stormed to victory in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

It was another triumph for the trio of jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins and owner Rich Ricci as he demolished the field to win by six lengths from Valseur Lido in second and Road To Riches in third.

Much had been made of Mullins' decision to pull Vautour out of tomorrow's Gold Cup for this race, with some suggesting that he wasn't quite right, but he belied the sceptics with a majestic performance.

Walsh rode superbly as he tracked early pacesetters Village Vic and Road To Riches before moving into the lead five from home.

The result was never in doubt from then on as he established a commanding lead which he never relinquished.

Road To Riches tried to stay with him but was pipped at the post by another Mullins-trained horse, Valseur Lido.

"We went a good old gallop, he travelled well and jumped like a buck," Walsh said after registering his 51st Cheltenham festival win.

"He lengthened his stride off the bend and while he was tight at the last two, he was deadly at them.

"He's a pleasure to ride - we've had a fair battle with him since Christmas, but he was spectacular today."

On his well-being leading up to the meeting and the decision to swerve the Gold Cup, Walsh said: "If you were watching him at home I'm not sure you'd even have run him in the Ryanair.

"He worked half all right on Saturday morning, I wouldn't say he worked well. If you'd watched him up until then - I'd written him off in my mind, but Willie gets it right doesn't he?"

By: Kieran O'Daly

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