Saturday 14 December 2019

Ruby Walsh retains full faith in Un De Sceaux ahead of Clarence contest at Ascot

Ruby Walsh is confident the real Un De Sceaux will emerge when the exciting two-miler bids to atone for his expensive Leopardstown fall in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

The eight-year-old came down at the second-last fence in the Paddy Power 'So Quick, So Easy iPhone App' Chase when making all the running to that point and looking likely to justify prohibitive odds of 1-4.

He had also taken a tumble on his chasing debut but in between the two blips, had been peerless in four starts that yielded a hat-trick of Grade One triumphs.

Walsh admitted being unable to get into a rhythm on the Willie Mullins-trained gelding last month, but has been delighted with his homework since then.

The rider said: "We just felt he was a bit buzzy on the day, it was hard to get him in a rhythm. He was standing too far back at some and getting in too deep at others, I was just never in a good rhythm with him.

"I couldn't have been happier with him before he fell, I was travelling really well, I saw a stride and asked him, but he changed his mind."

Walsh reckons Sire De Grugy sets a standard Un De Sceaux has to meet at Ascot.

He told Racing UK: "He's schooled really well since, his work is good, we're happy with him and Sire De Grugy is a new challenge for us. He sets a standard and we have to get up there.

"We're happy and we're looking forward to it. He likes what he does, he's brave, he likes to get on with it and attack fences, I enjoy riding him but the margin for error is quite small.

"I think he's a thrilling horse to ride."

Sire De Grugy should prove a proper adversary for Un De Sceaux, having won this race in 2014 as well as the Champion Chase.

After a mixed last campaign, the 10-year-old has been in fine form this winter, winning the Tingle Creek at Sandown for a second time before just losing out in a terrific duel with Sprinter Sacre in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Trainer Gary Moore said: "He is in great order and as good as can be expected, so it's fingers crossed. If anything, he is a fraction better than last time.

"He's better in softer ground, he makes soft ground look like good ground. It would definitely make his chances better - I think I'll be the only one praying for rain at Cheltenham.

"I've got great respect for Un De Sceaux, what he did last year was unbelievable, and he is the one to beat, but if don't try you don't know.

"The confidence I have in my horse could not be any higher, I am very confident - whether that is good enough to win, we won't know until Saturday."

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