Vintage Clouds finished second to Nicky Henderson charge Beware The Bear in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival under the guidance of Danny Cook. The Trevor Hemmings-owned Grey was prominent throughout the race and took the lead ahead of the turn for home before the ultimate victor surged into a decisive lead and took the crown.
Vintage Clouds never gave up however and was slowly closing the gap as the finish line are ever closer, trainer Sue Smith clearly delighted with the run given that this runner hasn’t made a competitive appearance since being pulled up at the Welsh National in December.
“We are absolutely delighted with him,” said Smith. “He jumped great and we couldn’t ask for more. He’s been a real star for us, always has. We couldn’t be more pleased. Hopefully now Aintree will be the main aim for him.”
“He doesn’t seem to be distressed by what he has done today and he will be absolutely spot on for the National,” added Smith.
For Vintage Clouds to make an appearance in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National as one of the final forty, some 21 horses of a higher rating need to come out of the mix.
Sue Smith and Danny Cook will team up once again today with Joke Dancer in the Coral Cup, this runner just making the cut for the race.