Sceaux out of Tingle Creek but Mullins 'not worried'
Star chaser Un De Sceaux could be poised to make his return at Leopardstown over Christmas after Willie Mullins yesterday ruled him out of Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase.
Last season's brilliant two-mile novice had been odds-on for the Sandown Grade One, but Mullins revealed that he would not be running this weekend as he had not been giving him the right signs at home.
"I just felt he was a bit flat for the past couple of days," the champion trainer said of the relentless front-runner. "I'm not worried - when he is right, he will run."
Asked about a suitable alternative for Un De Sceaux's reappearance, Mullins quipped: "He could run next week if he started to sparkle again, although I don't know if there is a race for him next week - it's hard to look beyond Sunday here!"
When asked if the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on December 27 might be the likeliest target for the Champion Chase favourite, Mullins replied: "I'd imagine that might be the case, he is in there."
Soon after Mullins's shock announcement, Nicky Henderson, who had previously scratched the resurgent Sprinter Sacre, confirmed that Simonsig is an intended Tingle Creek starter. The grey is now second favourite at odds of 7/2 behind new 7/4 market leader Vibrato Valtat.
Henry de Bromhead's Special Tiara is as low as 9/2 to record a second Grade One win over course and distance. He will be ridden for a first time by Aidan Coleman, with Nina Carberry another fascinating booking aboard Mick Channon's veteran Somersby.
It will be a rare opportunity for Carberry to ply her trade in an open Grade One. The 11-year-old Somersby was second in the race in 2013 and 2014, and he is now a best-priced 14/1 to provide the peerless amateur rider with a famous victory.
Carberry has recently ridden a winner for Channon and Somersby's owners Tim and Camilla Radford, coaxing Knock House to a neck success in an amateur riders' race at Cheltenham last month.
Meanwhile, The New One's bid for a hat-trick of International Hurdle wins at Cheltenham on Saturday week has been scuppered by a foot problem.
"It is disappointing, but we lost a week," Nigel Twiston-Davies told the Telegraph. "He will go straight to Kempton for the Christmas Hurdle now."