Mullins reroutes Un De Sceaux to French Grade Two
Champion trainer bypasses Punchestown Festival in favour of rematch with Gemix
Ruby Walsh returns to action in France after a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder sustained at Cheltenham. Photograph: Inpho
The world’s top-rated racehorse Treve`might be returning to Group One action in Paris tomorrow but flat matters still have to wait in the wings as the jumps game continues towards a crescendo of season-ending action that today sees Ruby Walsh making his own French appearance.
The champion jockey-elect fractured an arm and dislocated a shoulder on the final day of Cheltenham. But just six weeks later he will be on board the unbeaten Un De Sceaux in a Grade Two contest at Auteuil this afternoon.
Un De Sceaux misses out on next week’s Punchestown festival and runs instead in the Grade Two Prix Leon Rambaud where he will again clash with the French champion Gemix. Just a short neck separated them at the course a month ago when Barry Geraghty stepped in for the injured Walsh. Today’s race is at 1.35.
Trainer Willie Mullins reported yesterday: “Un De Sceaux is not the easiest of horses to ride but Ruby looks fit and well riding out at home. If he didn’t run [in France] he’d have to take on Hurricane Fly and Jezki and we’ve time enough for all that. And the way he jumped the French hurdles, who knows whether he’ll go jumping fences next year or come back over hurdles.”
Britain’s 2013-14 jumps season winds up with Sandown’s valuable Grade One card which features the bet365 Gold Cup and an attempt by Spring Heeled to provide trainer Jim Culloty with another major cross-channel prize.
Just two days before Lord Windermere’s spectacular Gold Cup success, Spring Heeled brought a spectacular barren period to an end for the north Cork trainer in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and he will have Davy Russell on his back in today’s big handicap.
“We didn’t want rain and would have preferred the ground a bit quicker. But he’s fit and well,” said Culloty.
Henry De Bromhead flies the Irish flag in the Grade One Celebration Chase although Special Tiara has considerable ground to make up on Sire de Grugy from Cheltenham’s Champion Chase while Co. Dublin based Patrick Griffin runs Maggio against Menorah in the Listed Oaksey Chase.
Oxx runner Tarana
Dual-purpose performer Inis Meain won it last year and is back again following his defeat of both Tarana and Parish Hall in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh earlier in the month.
This race is over a quarter mile further than the Alleged and it looks significant that John Oxx runs Tarana here instead of tomorrow’s Listed contest at Gowran. The Aga Khan owned filly has two and a half lengths to make up on Inis Meain but the extra distance could swing things her way.