Sunday 20 August 2017

Tingle Creek tilt now an option for Un De Sceaux

Trainer Willie Mullins. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
Trainer Willie Mullins. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

Thomas Kelly

With Sprinter Sacre retired Un De Sceaux could be rerouted to next month's Tingle Creek Chase.

Connections of the Willie Mullins-trained chaser had been inclined to avoid clashing with Nicky Henderson's charge after being beaten at Cheltenham and Sandown last season.

But with Sprinter Sacre now enjoying retirement, the two-mile division in Britain looks wide open.

"There are four two-mile races to consider, the Paddy Power and Hilly Way in Ireland and the Tingle Creek and Clarence House at Ascot in England," said Colm O'Connell, part-owner of Un De Sceaux.

"Obviously Willie also has Douvan to think about, too, and if he stays in Ireland we might go to England. You've got Gary Moore's horses and Fox Norton, but with no Sprinter Sacre it looks open.

"We knew Sprinter Sacre was better than us so we weren't going to take him on and were looking at France, but now he's retired our plans might change.

"He was close to running in the Fortria last week, but while it has rained, it hasn't rained as much as we'd like. Un De Sceaux's perfect conditions are when the clerk of the course is tossing a coin about whether to call the meeting off or not.

"Our time to make hay is between December and March, we don't think about Aintree and Punchestown because by then we're looking at France.

"If it's soft the Tingle Creek is certainly an option, I'm sure he'll have the entry and as a family it's a race we'd like to go for, but we don't pay Willie Mullins to listen to us!"

Hexham, meanwhile, will hold a second inspection this morning to see if tomorrow's fixture can go ahead.

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