Friday 15 December 2017

Cheltenham 2015: Un De Sceaux lives up to his billing

Ruby Walsh on Un De Sceaux wins the 14:05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
Ruby Walsh on Un De Sceaux wins the 14:05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Un De Sceaux lived up to his billing as he duly landed the odds in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ruby Walsh made all the running on the 4-6 favourite, trained by Willie Mullins, but he was ridden with a bit more restraint than had been expected.

READ MORE: Douvan gets Willie Mullins off to a winning start at Cheltenham

Even so, Un De Sceaux had all his rivals at full stretch coming down the hill. God's Own (33-1) tried to make a race of it but he could not compete on the run to the line and had to settle for being beaten six lengths in second place.

Josses Hill (12-1) stayed on to take third spot, two lengths away.

The victory gave Mullins and Walsh a double in the first two races of the meeting after Douvan struck in the opener.

Walsh said: "He has got a turn of foot. I wasn't going that hard and I knew that when I gave him a squeeze he would quicken up and he's pinged the last.

"He didn't come to the Festival last year, he went to France twice, and you can see it's made a man of him.

"He's not an easy horse and they have minded and nurtured him. They've done a great job.

"I rode Master Minded and Azertyiuop so going that speed is nothing new to me."

Mullins said: "It was just fantastic. He was very clever. He jumped the first two nicely and settled into a rhythm in his jumping.

"He jumped the water very easy, probably the first time he'd jumped one in his life, then came to the ditch which is a big test for a novice after the water. He pricked his ears and flew it again.

"I got a fright when God's Own came up beside him, but Ruby sat and then he just flew up the hill.

"He's not a typical racehorse and I don't think he's any pedigree, either, which is extraordinary. He is what we call a pure freak."

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