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Valtat in the frame for Imperial Cup after Listed triumph at Exeter

Last Updated: 10/02/14 11:59am

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Vibrato Valtat: Imperial Cup entry

Vibrato Valtat: Imperial Cup entry

Sky Bet

A trip to Sandown could be next on the agenda for Vibrato Valtat following his Listed triumph at Exeter on Sunday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old made it sixth-time lucky over hurdles when claiming a three-and-a-quarter-length verdict in the Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Novices' Hurdle on heavy ground.

After finishing second on four occasions, Dan Downie, racing manager for owners Axom Racing, was thrilled to see him open his account.

He pointed to the Imperial Cup at Sandown on March 8 as a possible target, with an entry in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival also a consideration.

"We were very happy with him, it's good to see him come right as he was just a bit immature before and really wouldn't settle in his races," he said.

"Where he will go next, I don't really know at the moment. We might look at something like the County Hurdle, but he will get an entry in the Imperial Cup the Saturday before Cheltenham and then see where we go from there.

"There are some nice races for him later in the season and as he was a bit immature, we didn't enter him for the novice races at Cheltenham and it might well have been a mistake to pitch him into a race like the Supreme.

"I think he really needs good ground, so it shows he's improving that he ran such a good race on ground like that."

While Vibrato Valtat hit the target, fellow Axom runner Far West suffered a nasty fall when well fancied for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Downie reports the five-year-old gelding to have suffered no lasting damage but is unsure when he will return to action.

"He's absolutely fine, the good thing about heavy ground is that they don't injury themselves quite as much as they could do when they fall," he said.

"He was just winded and walked back fine.

"We had thought about giving him an Imperial Cup entry, too, but we will have to see how he is over the next 10 days or so before we decide how soon and where to bring him back.

"There's still lots of nice races for him later in the year."

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