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Un De Sceaux’s Champion Hurdle bid hanging in the balance

Un De Sceaux maintained his unbeaten record with a facile success in the Red Mill Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park, but trainer Willie Mullins is not sure if he is ready at this stage of his career to take his chance in the Champion Hurdle.

The French import made it seven out of seven when beating Midnight Game at a canter by 16 lengths, and has now won his five Irish starts by an aggregate of 117 lengths.

He also clocked a time 13 seconds quicker than the winner of the following maiden hurdle, but his handler fears this year’s Champion may come too soon for him.

Speaking 24-hours after his success, Mullins said: “He’s good, he came out of the race fine. It took a fair bit out of him, people think it is easy but galloping two miles in that soft ground still takes a fair bit out of them.”

When asked about Cheltenham, for which Un De Sceaux is a 12/1 shot with Coral for the Champion Hurdle, the County Carlow handler said: “I just wonder if he needs that at this time in his career, taking on those fantastic horses.

“Obviously he is hugely talented for the future, we were happy to keep him under the radar and that’s where I’d like to keep him.”

The trainers’ views back up the comments made by Ruby Walsh after riding Un De Sceaux to success at Navan.

He said: “Mentally, he’s a horse that’s taken a bit of minding and looking after. The more he’s enjoying it, the better the chance he has of progressing.”

Walsh is set to partner Hurricane Fly, the current 3/1 jt-fav with Coral, in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, March 11th.

A final decision on whether Un De Sceaux lines-up alongside his stable companion is now likely to be delayed until the last possible moment.