Un De Sceaux To Blow The Cobwebs Off In Clarence
Supporters of Un De Sceaux will be hoping the star chaser bounces back in Saturday’s Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot (3.00pm), having hit the deck at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Sceaux’s Jumping Put To Test
It was a fall that shocked punters everywhere, but those with long memories will recall him doing exactly the same on his reappearance the season before.
It may well be that Un De Sceaux simply needs to blow away the cobwebs to be at his best,
just as he did in 2014/15, getting off the deck to win his next four races – three of which were Grade 1’s.
His trainer, Willie Mullins, will be aware that there is work to do with his jumping, and no doubt Un De Sceaux will have been put through his paces at home in preparation for Saturday. The fact remains that no novice could live with Un De Sceaux last season, including his breathtaking 6l Arkle win at Cheltenham (2m, good to soft), and a return to that kind of form would be good enough to see him back in the winner’s enclosure.
Un De Sceaux also represents favourite status at 8/15 at Ascot, which has proven a positive in this race, with five of the last seven obliging…
Clarence House Trends
Of the last 10 winners…
10 returned 12/1 or shorter
9 were 6-8yo’s
9 ran in Graded/Listed company last time
9 ran during the last 26-90 days
8 were officially rated 159 or higher
8 were French-bred
P Nicholls (4) or N Henderson (2) won six renewals between them
De Grugy To Cause Upset?
One of the aforementioned favourites that triumphed in this race back in 2014 was Gary Moore’s 10yo, Sire De Grugy (5/2), and his victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown last month, prior to being just touched off in a Grade 2 at Kempton, showed he was no back number.
If there are any chinks in the favourite’s jumping at Ascot, then Sire De Grugy could be the one to take advantage, especially as the soft ground and presence of his speedy stablemate, Traffic Fluide (25/1) will make Saturday a real test.
Another For Nicholls?
Just over 4l behind Sire De Grugy at Kempton was Paul Nicholls’ 7yo, Vibrato Valtat (10/1), a Grade 1 winner over this 2m trip 13 months ago, prior to landing three Grade 2’s. Having also been held by almost 8l by Sire De Grugy at Sandown, Vibrato Valtat will need to find improvement to reverse that form.
Simply Ned (20/1) also needs to step up if landing this big prize for Nicky Richards, though he was only beaten 1l in the Grade 1 won by Flemenstar at Leopardstown last time (where Un De Sceaux fell). The forecast muddy ground will suit Simply Ned, and any mistakes from the front two in the market could see him make the frame at big each-way odds.
Un De Sceaux comes into this as the class act, and victory here would see his Queen Mother Chase odds of 11/8 contract.
His jumping will be in question, but Ruby Walsh is aware of what happened last time and can nurture him home.
*Prices correct at time of publication.