Friday 24 November 2017

Mullins targets Ascot date for 'Sceaux'

Trainer Willie Mullins has entered Un De Sceaux for the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot. Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile
Trainer Willie Mullins has entered Un De Sceaux for the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot. Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Un de Sceaux could have an early skirmish with Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre if Willie Mullins sends him to Ascot on Saturday fortnight.

As had been flagged by Mullins, the breathtaking Arkle Trophy victor was yesterday among the entries unveiled for the Sodexo Clarence House Chase. There are eight contenders in all, including Un De Sceaux's smart stablemate, Felix Yonger.

In all probability, Nicky Henderson's rejuvenated Sprinter Sacre is an unlikely runner in the extended two-mile Grade One, and bookmaker Paddy Power yesterday omitted him from their ante-post betting on that basis.

However, his fellow resurgent former champion chaser Sire De Grugy could well turn out in the £125,000 contest for Gary and Jamie Moore.

Mullins is eager to get a run into Un De Sceaux following his crashing fall at Leopardstown over Christmas, and Punchestown's Tied Cottage Chase is another option on January 31.

Powers, though, have installed the scintillating front-runner as evens favourite for the Ascot contest, with Sire De Grugy second on the list at 6/4.

Mullins, who has recently admitted that a tilt at the British trainers' championship would be on the agenda if results at Cheltenham in March go his way, also has Footpad and Let's Dance engaged in Saturday's £50,000 Grade One Finale Hurdle at Chepstow.

The rearranged Welsh National card could yet be lost to the elements again, but course officials are hopeful that it will survive. Vics Canvas, Portrait King and Folsom Blue are the potential Irish-based starters in the gruelling feature event.

"At the moment we've got some horrible, deep, heavy ground, but because it hasn't rained since midnight, we would be racing today," Chepstow's clerk of the course Keith Ottesen said on At The Races yesterday.

"We've all been around long enough to know it's probably going to be a last-minute decision. We are desperate to get this on, especially when we've worked so hard to rearrange."

Elsewhere, Lusk handler Ado McGuinness and Mr Boss Man yesterday enjoyed a second successive successful trip to Wolverhampton.

Pat Cosgrave won on Mr Boss Man at the track last Wednesday, and they were one of six winning favourites on the card when following up yesterday.

There is Irish activity at a more exotic all-weather destination today when David Marnane's Elleval and Mick Halford's Hasanour tackle a £102,000 handicap at Meydan.

Halford also has Eastern Rules in an £82,000 contest on the opening leg at the lucrative Dubai Carnival.

Irish Independent

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