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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase - Willie Mullins relishing Un De Sceaux bid for glory

Jon Wilde in Wed. 15th March 3 Mar 2016
  • Un De Sceaux set to start hot favourite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • Trainer Willie Mullins cannot wait for his Cheltenham Festival glory bid
Ruby Walsh and Un De Sceaux on their way to victory (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Trainer Willie Mullins is oozing confidence about the prospects of his Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Un De Sceaux, believing he has him in tip-top condition for what will be a Cheltenham Festival highlight to savour.

Un De Sceaux is set to start odds-on for the thrilling two-mile test that provides the centrepiece of Wednesday’s action on March 16, even though he will be up against the reigning champion Dodging Bullets as well as former winners Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.

A dashing front-runner, Un De Sceaux indicated he could be destined for greatness in the chasing ranks when he ran away with the Arkle Challenge Trophy at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, which he won by six lengths.

The eight-year-old, who began his career in France, has won all of his 16 career starts apart from the two occasions when he fell over fences, looking in command of those contests when he did so.

Un De Sceaux made amends for a fall at Leopardstown just after Christmas with a dominant display in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January, and has Mullins “counting down the days” to Cheltenham.

The trainer said:
“He seems in great form. I would love it if the race was tomorrow. I'm just counting down the days with him, he's in terrific order. We'll probably do a school on a racecourse somewhere before we go to Cheltenham. 
“What I loved about Ascot was the manner of his racing. He switched off, settled, looked at his fences and jumped them, rather than going down and flying out over them. 
“Sometimes with a horse like him they just get faster and faster until they blow their lid, but he seems to be coming around now which is good.”

Mullins confirmed Un De Sceaux’s stable companion Felix Yonger will also take his chance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and he has live prospects of finishing in the frame at least.

The 10-year-old has won six of his last seven starts, including the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Punchestown last April, and is a former runner-up in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.


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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase - Willie Mullins relishing Un De Sceaux bid for glory

Trainer Willie Mullins is oozing confidence about the prospects of his Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Un De Sceaux, believing he has him in tip-top condition for what will be a Cheltenham Festival highlight to savour.

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