Cheltenham countdown: Vinndication set for JLT after Kim Bailey rethink

Fri 8 Mar 2019

Vinndication could yet run at the Cheltenham Festival next week after trainer Kim Bailey revealed a change of heart on Friday morning.

The Andoversford-based handler on Monday ruled his stable star out of the showpiece meeting following an unsatisfactory racecourse gallop at Newbury the previous morning, posting on his website: “I was not happy with the way Vinndication went, so Cheltenham for him this year will be missed.”

However, Bailey was far happier with his charge after seeing him school on Friday morning and revealed the JLT Novices’ Chase next Thursday will be seriously considered.

Bailey said: “He schooled this morning and schooled very well and worked very well yesterday.

“I was disappointed with him at Newbury, but the ground was horrid and I think he was maybe thinking back to his last run at Sandown.

“I was really pleased with him this morning. I could change my mind again between now and next week, but as things stand the intention is to run him in the JLT – unless the ground is like it was at Sandown, in which case he won’t run.”

Vinndication has won six of his seven starts under rules, suffering his first defeat when third behind Defi Du Seuil in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown last month.

He is generally quoted at 8-1 by those bookmakers offering non-runner-no-bet.

Paul Nicholls has supplemented Capeland for the JLT Novices’ at the six-day confirmation stage.

The seven-year-old is a three-time winner over fences and was an encouraging second at Chepstow last month on his first run since a wind operation.

Nicholls already had Topofthegame in the list, which numbers 19, as he seeks to land this prize for the first time.

Willie Mullins, who has won the race a record four times since its inception in 2011, looks to have a strong team of four – Real Steel, Voix Du Reve, Camelia De Cotte and Pravalaguna.

The three other Irish-trained possibles are Terence O’Brien’s Articulum, Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan, Henry de Bromhead’s Paloma Blue and Alan Fleming’s Speaker Connolly.

Others in a list full of quality include ante-post favourite Lostintranslation, Defi Du Seuil, Drovers Lane and Kildisart.

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