Spectra - Cyber Security Solutions Clarence House Chase
|Grade 1, Cheltenham 13:45
2m 62y, Class 1
|Saturday 28th January 2017|
1 Un De Sceaux 1/2F
2 Uxizandre 12/1
3 Top Gamble 5/1
7 ran Distances: 5l, 2¾l, 16l
TIME 4m 11.70s (slow by 15.70s)
Un De Sceaux makes it back-to-back wins in the Clarence House
After proving no match for a rejuvenated Sprinter Sacre at the Festival back in March, the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old made his latest British raid a victorious one to take the Grade One prize for the second year running, with the race saved from frozen-off Ascot last weekend
The field closed in but with Walsh motionless in the saddle the result never looked in doubt despite a less than convincing leap two out which allowed Top Gamble and Uxizandre, having his first start since winning the Ryanair Chase in 2015, to close up.
Un De Sceaux was better at the last but didn't quicken as might have been hoped and he had to be ridden out by Walsh to score by five lengths from Uxizandre.
Colm O'Connell, son of winning owner Edward O'Connell, said: "He was very good and enjoyed himself. He does his own thing, but he has the best jockey in the world on him.
"He is a serious horse for Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh and the lads. I think we can look at March with a lot of confidence.
"It's only our second winner at Cheltenham and it feels unbelievable. It is great and keeps the dream for March alive.
"He is what he is, a free-running horse and if they are not fast enough he will go faster. He is just a special horse."
Mullins watched from Naas, where he said: "He was very good. He jumped very big and fresh late on, which shows how well he is, but then I started to wonder if he'd have enough left for the finish.
"To be able to do that after coming back to Ireland and going to England again is very impressive. Looking at him, I don't think it took anything out of him because he ran very very fresh.
"I thought his jumping would have taken a huge amount out of him - he appeared to be jumping huge, but I was very pleased having done that and galloped up the hill like that."
Mullins added: "As for the Festival and which race, I'll have to chat to the owners, but at this stage the Ryanair is possibly his race.
"We know for a fact he stays two and a half miles, so there are no stamina doubts.
"I suppose it depends on Douvan and what he does in his next race. I imagine Ruby would like to ride the two horses if they both get to Cheltenham and the obvious thing to do would be to divide them up."
"He exceeded my expectations, especially after it had rained, as we know he's better on better ground.
"I'd imagine it will be the Ryanair but we'll leave him in the Queen Mother as well."
Un De Sceaux was unchanged at 7/1 with Sky Bet for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and cut to 7/2 from 4/1 for the Ryanair Chase while the online bookmaker trimmed Uxizandre to 20/1 from 33s and to 14/1 from 25s for the respective races.
Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners said: "That was pretty comfortable for Un De Sceaux and, presuming he avoids Douvan in the Champion Chase, he has to be a player in the Ryanair.
"It's 7/2 he stays the trip and wins the Ryanair, while Uxizandre is 14/1 to win the race for a second time after a more than satisfactory reappearance."
The Spectra – Cyber Security Solutions Clarence House Chase
£70,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 62y, Class 1
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||Dist||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Un De Sceaux (FR) 1/2f||R Walsh
|W P Mullins||9|
|2nd||5||Uxizandre (FR) 12/1||B J Geraghty
|3rd||2¾||Top Gamble (IRE) 5/1||D N Russell
|4th||16||Dodging Bullets 20/1||Nick Scholfield
|P F Nicholls||9|
|5th||9||Special Tiara 8/1||N D Fehily
|H de Bromhead||10|
|PU||Eastlake (IRE) 50/1||Wayne Hutchinson
|PU||Royal Regatta (IRE) 25/1||R Johnson
|P J Hobbs||9|