|Grade 1, Cheltenham 14:50
2m 4f 166y, Class 1
|Thursday 16th March 2017
1 Un De Sceaux 7/4F
2 Sub Lieutenant 8/1
3 Aso 40/1
8 ran Distances: 1½l, 6l, 1½l
Time: 5m 9.60s (slow by 6.60s)
Un De Sceaux jumps them silly and wins the Ryanair
The enigma that is Un De Sceaux produced a sublime front-running performance to make most in the Grade One Ryanair Chase to provide Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh with a quickfire double on day three.
Second in last year's Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, the well-backed 7/4 favourite was making a belated step up in trip to two miles and five furlongs for the first time over fences, but despite a couple of hairy leaps, jumped on the whole with real authority under Walsh.
Well clear entering the home straight, the son of Denham Red produced two flawless jumps at the final two fences and responded well to Walsh's urgings up the Cheltenham hill to win by an eased down length and a half from Henry de Bromhead's Sub Lieutenant in second, with a further six lengths back to 40/1 shot Aso, trained by Venetia Williams, in third.
A delighted Mullins, registering his 50th Festival victory, just the second trainer to reach that landmark figure (Nicky Henderson, 58), said: "He is a super horse - that's what he is. He is an iron horse. He does that every day at home and my heart is in my mouth every morning watching him come up the gallops.
"That is a real racehorse there. To do what he does every day, I mean Ruby is only half in control half the time and you always wonder whether he will get home, but he just seems to find reserves from I don't know where. He is just everything you would want in a racehorse. He is brave, strong and sound. Probably coming up in trip now which made more use of stamina was a help as yes he is certainly very good on soft ground. I wouldn't want to go much further with him but he can go back to two miles.
"He never completely drops the bridle. Between fences I was hoping Ruby would be able to drop it for two or three strides to let the horse get his breath back and then go on again. The horse has a huge constitution."
Mullins added: "It was a fantastic race to win and Michael [O'Leary] and everyone were very gracious. But as I say in racing, you can't gloat over beating someone because they will come out in the next race and beat you. I just try to win - it is not about who you beat. I didn't realise it was my 50th winner at The Festival. That is nice to know."
"I think Ruby sort of managed to settle him in front because he is a funny horse. You give him two strides and he fills up and goes away again. He's an absolute iron horse - he's like that on the gallops every day and I am afraid for my life watching him coming up them every day.
"He wears his heart on his sleeve every day and I am wondering how he can do that all the years he has been in training - to stay sound and not get worn out. Really, I am training to train him not to get worn out and to keep enjoying it. He is just so hard on himself.
"I was watching and thinking that, every time he needed a good jump, he put one in. That's going to take something out of the others to have to get to him on the flat. He put in some spectacular jumps and then, when he came to the last, it was an extraordinary jump when he just took off. Ruby said that, if he hadn't have taken off, he would have ended up in the Hunter's Lodge because he would have been throw so far clear. He saved his best jump for the last.
"Once he got over the third last and down into the dip, I wasn't worried about him staying. I looked at the others and I thought there was nothing there unless he does something wrong - it was his to lose at that stage. He put in two fantastic jumps at the last two."
As for the future, Mullins added: "I'll probably go to Punchestown with him. I'm not sure what race he will go for definitely but he could go for the two-mile Champion Chase there.
Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
£300,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 4f 166y, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
|Un De Sceaux (FR) 7/4f
|W P Mullins
|Sub Lieutenant (IRE) 8/1
|D J Mullins
|H de Bromhead
|Aso (FR) 40/1
|Miss V Williams
|Empire Of Dirt (IRE) 11/4
|B J Cooper
|Josses Hill (IRE) 9/1
|Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson
|Alary (FR) 33/1
|T J O'Brien
|C L Tizzard
|Uxizandre (FR) 6/1
|Vaniteux (FR) 14/1
|N D Fehily
|N J Henderson
LIEUTENANT NO SUB
Sub Lieutenant, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, came to Henry de Bromhead at the start of the season from Sandra Hughes. He has shown that he likes his new home, having won a Grade Two and been placed third in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December.
He has now built on that to come home the one-and-a-half length second to Un De Sceaux in the Grade One Ryanair Chase, today, St Patrick's Thursday.
De Bromhead said: "He ran a blinder and I am delighted with him. He is a lovely horse to have in the yard. He has had a super season and shown he is decent already.
"I am not sure where he will go next, I will talk to Michael and Eddie (O'Leary) and see what they would like to do. I presume Aintree or Punchestown. Today was always the plan."
CHARLIE'S AN ACE ON ASO FOR GRATEFUL WILLIAMS
Conditional jockey Charlie Deutsch has made giant strides since joining Venetia Williams's Herefordshire stable, and he proved it when giving 40/1 outsider Aso a peach of a ride to finish third in the Ryanair Chase.
Despite being unable to claim his 3lb allowance in the race due to its value, Deutsch was given the green light to ride the seven-year-old, who was in contention two out, but could not claw back the pace-setting winner Un De Sceaux, who scored by one and a half lengths and six lengths, with Sub Lieutenant finishing runner-up.
Williams, who still calls upon experienced jockey Liam Treadwell for many rides, described Deutsch as "a real talent", and the unassuming youngster was clearly grateful for a chance to line up in such a celebrated contest.
He said: "He was a great spin and his jumping was perfect. He ran a brilliant race and was very genuine at the finish - I'm very happy.
"The only way I could catch Ruby [Walsh on Un De Sceaux] was if he stopped in front - I knew his horse had so much talent so I had to play a waiting game. If I'd gone after him too soon it would have burnt my bridge.
"He [Aso] is a bit quirky, and doesn't like hitting the front too soon, so we decided to put him in a better race and hopefully run on into a place, which he did."
Williams said: "We're really thrilled. He's come out of it as the best British two-and-a-half miler in the race. He ran well here last year in cheek pieces in the Arkle, so we decided to put them back on.
"Charlie couldn't claim his allowance, but he was the man for the job and he's ridden a fantastic race and always had the horse in the right place at the right time."
RYANAIR CHASE - Past Results
2016-WINNER-VAUTOUR 7-11-10 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-Evs Fav
2ND-Valseur Lido 7-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-David Mullins; SP-11/1
3RD-Road To Riches 9-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-7/1
15 ran, Time-5m 5.50s Dist-6, 1⁄2
2015-WINNER-UXIZANDRE 7-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey- A P McCoy; SP-16/1
2ND-Ma Filleule 7-11-03 Owner-Simon Munir; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-5/1
3RD-Don Cossack 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Gordon Elliott IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-5/2 Fav
14 ran, Time-5m 1.10s Dist-5, 3¼
2014-WINNER-DYNASTE 8-11-10 Owner-John White; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-3/1 Fav
2ND-Hidden Cyclone 9-11-10 Owner-David & Mrs A F Mee; Trainer-John Hanlon IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-10/1
3RD-Rajdhani Express 7-11-10 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mr Sam Waley-Cohen; SP-18/1
11 ran, Time-5m 9.13s Dist-21⁄4, 21⁄4
2013-WINNER-CUE CARD 7-11-10 Owner-Jean Bishop; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-7/2
2ND-First Lieutenant 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-2/1Fav
3RD-For Non Stop 8-11-10 Owner-Potensis Limited & Chris Giles; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-12/1
8 ran, Time-5m 19.30s Dist-9, 31⁄4
2012-WINNER-RIVERSIDE THEATRE 8-11-10 Owner-Jimmy Nesbitt Partnership; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Albertas Run 11-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-10/1
3RD-Medermit 7-11-10 Owner-The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
12 ran, Time-5m 9.69s Dist- ½, ½
2011-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 10-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-AP McCoy; SP-6/1
2ND-Kalahari King 10-11-10 Owner- Juliet Morgan; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/1 3RD-Rubi Light 6-11-10 Owner-Bill Hennessy; Trainer-Robbie Hennessy IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-16/1
11 ran, Time-5m 7.30s 2/1 Fav Poquelin (4th)
2010-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 9-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-14/1
2ND-Poquelin 7-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/4 Fav
3RD-J’y Vole 7-11-03 Owner-Hammer & Trowell Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Condon; SP-28/1
13 ran, Time-5m 11.63s Dist-4.5, nse
2009-WINNER-IMPERIAL COMMANDER 8-11-10 Owner-Our Friends In The North; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-6/1
2ND-Voy Por Ustedes 8-11-10 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-4/5 Fav
3RD-Schindlers Hunt 9-11-10 Owner-Slaneyville Syndicate; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Paddy Flood; SP-22/1
10 ran, Time-5m 18.34s Dist-2, 0.75
2008-WINNER-OUR VIC 10-11-10 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-4/1
2ND-Mossbank 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Michael Hourigan IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-4/1
3RD-Turko 6-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.24s Dist-5, 7 100/30 Fav The Listener (5th)
2007-WINNER-TARANIS 6-11-00 Owner-Mrs A B Yeoman & C R Whittaker; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-9/2
2ND–Our Vic 9-11-05 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-7/2
3RD–Billyvoddan 8-11-00 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Henry Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.60s Dist-nk, ½ 7/4 Fav Monet’s Garden (4th)
2006-WINNER-FONDMORT 10-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerlad; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
2ND-Lacdoudal 7-11-00 Owner-Carol Skan; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
3RD-Impek Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
11 ran, Time-5m 3.00s Dist-1¼, hd
2005-WINNER-THISTHATANDTOTHER 9-11-03 Owner-Graham Roach; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh;
2ND-Fondmort 9-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-9/1
3RD-Rathgar Beau 9-11-03 Owner-One-O-Eight Racing Club; Trainer-Eamon Sheehy IRE; Jockey-Shay Barry; SP-9/2
12 ran, Time-5m 11.90s Dist: ½, 2½ 7/4 Fav Our Vic (PU)