Victorious ‘Vic’ pulls off remarkable recovery
Ruby Walsh sticks like glue as Killultagh Vic stumbles on landing over the last
Down but not out . . . Killultagh Vic rises again to win by three-quarters of a length in the Coral.ie Novice Steeplechase at Leopardstown on Sunday. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
special mention as the champion jockey performed a miraculous recovery on the 2-7 favourite to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Willie Mullins-trained horse looked set to record a routine success until jumping the last almost too well, pitching, and coming to a halt as Walsh struggled to stay on his back.
It left Blair Perrone and Lord Scoundrel seemingly to fight out the finish, but in a hark back to his memorable remount of Kauto Star at Exeter in 2005, Walsh galvanised Killultagh Vic and they rallied to win by three-quarters of a length.
“Extraordinary, from both horse and rider,” was Mullins’s verdict. The bookmaker response was to cut Killultagh Vic to 4-1 favourite for Cheltenham’s JLT Chase.
“He’s got some turn of foot, and that’s with me flapping up and down on him,” a modest Walsh said. “I was nearly off him. He pinged it and just pitched. At least I didn’t come off him like I did Kauto Star.”
A Grade 1 winner over three miles, Killultagh Vic looks significantly better again over fences. Mullins said: “If we didn’t have Douvan for the Arkle, I would say that performance was good enough for it. So more than likely, the JLT is the race for him.”