After Yorkhill’s recent performance over 2m3f, there have been many different opinions floating around on social media regarding that showing, and where he should run at the Cheltenham Festival.
There is no doubting that his jumping needs fine tuning. He jumped markedly left at some obstacles. But in an interview after the race Ruby Walsh said ‘Leopardstown is left, Cheltenham is left, Aintree is left. He’ll be alright.’ with a wry smile on his face while saying so. Clearly the horse is extremely well regarded.
The fact he has a tendency to jump left shouldn’t really be an issue. If Cheltenham was a right-handed track then this might be a point of concern, but it’s not. He won the race at Leopardstown with any amount in hand. Willie Mullins has plenty to work on with him, but he is a master of his trade and there is little doubt that his faults can be ironed out.
If I’m honest, I would love to see him in the Champion Hurdle. Graham Wylie doesn’t seem to have a problem putting his horses up against Rich Ricci’s and seeing Yorkhill up against Faugheen would be mouthwatering. Unfortunately, this probably won’t be the case, as he isn’t in the entries… gutted! However, as Annie Power has been ruled out there is a very slim chance that he could be supplemented.
The JLT Novices’ Chase is the race in which he is the ante-post favourite, at a best price 7/4. Run over 2m4f, it is similar to the race that Yorkhill won at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, except last season’s victory was over hurdles rather than fences. Obviously, he has no trouble staying the distance, but he can be quite keen and you could argue that he would benefit from a drop in distance.
Will Yorkhill Win the JLT Novices Chase?
Realistically this is the most likely race he will run in. Now will he win it? The odds suggest that he will, but there must be some value against him. Buveur D’air is next in and there is no reason why he couldn’t challenge the favourite. He was workmanlike last time out but possess plenty of ability, as last years spring form indicates. Politologue is one from the Paul Nicholls yard that is likely to run in the race and has performed well over fences this season. But we’ll leave the in-depth analysis for another time.
Changing plans and running in the Arkle Challenge Trophy is an option that shouldn’t be dismissed for Yorkhill. Speed is not something that this son of Presenting is short of and he would have no problem dropping in trip to 2m. The thought of Altior vs Min vs Yorkhill is like christmas come early. If it were to happen though, it would leave Mullins short of a top class JLT candidate.
One thing is for sure, wherever he turns up, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Yorkhill Cheltenham Festival Odds:
2/1 to win the JLT Novices Chase with Sky Bet.
8/1 to win the Arkle Trophy with Betfair.