Queen Mother hopes Sceaux and Sire clash in Clarence House Chase
David Metcalf | January 19, 2016
Un De Sceaux is 8/11 with Coral to get back on track in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday, January 23rd, and cement his position at the head of the betting for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Last season’s Arkle Trophy winner blotted his copybook when falling at the second-last when still travelling well in front at Leopardstown last month.
It was not the first time that his tearaway front running tactics had been his downfall, but the Willie Mullins trained gelding remains 6/4 favourite with Coral for the Queen Mother on Wednesday, March 16th.
Felix Yonger and Sire De Grugy to challenge
The eight-year-old will need to show that his confidence has not been affected and win well in the Grade 1 contest at the Berkshire track to justify such short Festival odds, and there are a couple of very interesting potential opponents among the seven left in at the latest confirmation stage.
They include Un De Sceaux’s highly regarded stable companion Felix Yonger (8/1) and the rejuvenated Sire De Grugy (15/8).
The latter lifted this prize in 2014 on the way to achieving glory in the Champion Chase, and after a mixed bag last season has returned to form with a vengeance this campaign.
Gary Moore’s stable star showed tremendous battling qualities to land the Tingle Creek at Sandown for a second time, and lost little in defeat last time out when going down by just 3/4 of a length to Sprinter Sacre after a titanic tussle in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
Judged on those efforts Sire De Grugy remains a real force to be reckoned with, and he is sure to give Un De Sceaux plenty to think about.
Rivals preparing for Cheltenham showdown
It will be fascinating to see how he gets on against his younger rival, and current odds of 7/1 with Coral about him regaining his Queen Mother crown in March could look big if he does take Un De Sceaux’s scalp.
Moore could also be represented by Traffic Fluide (16/1), who was last seen taking minor honours in the Grade 1 Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last April.
Sprinter Sacre was the only withdrawal at the five-day stage, with his trainer Nicky Henderson keeping in Captain Conan (25/1), who has been sidelined since fracturing his pelvis during the 2014 Champion Chase.
Completing the septet are Nicky Richards’ Simply Ned (12/1), runner-up in the Leopardstown race behind Flemenstar in which Un De Sceaux fell, and Vibrato Valtat (10/1) who finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Kempton.