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Is Un De Sceaux the next Sprinter Sacre?

Un De Sceaux is 4/5 with Coral for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival in March following his stunning success in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown, and his profile compares favourably with the brilliant Sprinter Sacre who romped to a seven length success in 2012.

Unbeaten in seven starts over hurdles, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old came to grief on his chasing debut at Thurles in November but quickly got back on the winning trail with a facile success at Fairyhouse last month.

That win saw him 8-11 favourite for his Grade 1 debut in the Frank Ward at Leopardstown, and Un De Sceaux put in a sensational front-running display to destroy two very smart opponents in Clarcam and Gilmgamboa.

The son of Denham Red jumped superbly and found an instant change of gear after the last to cruise clear and win with consumate ease by 15 lengths from Clarcam.

Un De Sceaux was giving 10lb to the runner-up, who had previously won a Grade 1, and it was a performance which took the breath away and earned him a Timeform rating of 168p.

The “p” means that the Halifax-based firm believe that there is even better to come, and that suggests that we could have a real superstar on our hands if comparing Un De Sceaux’s current rating to that of Sprinter Sacre at the same stage of his career.

Un De Sceaux has earned Timeform ratings of 150+, 159+, and 168p in his first three starts over fences. Sprinter Sacre earned 154+, 167, 162+ in his first three prior to winning the Arkle.
Those figures suggest that Un De Sceaux is a worthy odds-on shot for the 2m novices’ contest at Cheltenham on Tuesday, March 10th.

Indeed, it can be argued that he would not be out of place against the big boys in the Queen Mother Champion Chase given that Timeform rated Un de Sceaux’s latest success as the second best by a 2m chaser this season.

It is bettered only by Dodging Bullets’ victory over Sprinter Sacre in the Clarence House at Ascot, and rated just 1lb below what Paul Nicholls gelding achieved in that contest.

Throw in the fact that Un De Sceaux’s Timeform rating after just three starts over fences is 1lb higher than Champagne Fever, 5lb higher than Cue Card and just 3lb below that of last year’s Ryanair Chase winnner Dynaste and you can see why he the the potential to be something very special indeed.

Is he the next Sprinter Sacre? Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet against Un De Sceaux going on to achieve a similar superstar status.