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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Walsh sings the praises of Un De Sceaux – jumping's Duracell bunny

Un De Sceaux and Ruby Walsh after victory in last year's Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham
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Ruby Walsh has compared Un De Sceaux to the Duracell Bunny and says the only reason the horse has not earned wholesale recognition for all he has achieved is, ironically, because he keeps on winning! 

Un De Sceaux became a millionaire on Saturday when making it 20 wins from 26 starts in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot – his third straight win in the race – and Walsh has heaped the highest praise on the ten-year-old, hailing him as an "incredible horse".

"He's like the bunny from the Duracell ad. He just keeps on going and there's no stopping him," said the jockey, who was unable to ride the ten-year-old to success on Saturday as he continues to recover from a broken leg.

Walsh, though, is in a better position than anyone to talk about Un De Sceaux's achievements, having ridden him on 20 occasions.

Un De Sceau heads for a third consecutive victory in the Clarence House Stakes with Paul Townend deputising for the injured Walsh

He said: "I think it's only when a horse seems vulnerable that the public really latch on to them. Look at Kauto Star for instance. It was only when he was beaten in the King George and his career looked over that the public began to adore him.

"It was the same with Hurricane Fly. The public loves it when horses are gone and then they come back. The problem for them is that Un De Sceaux has never really gone. He just keeps winning and never misses a season. He's an incredible horse."

Walsh feels Un De Sceaux's performance in last season's Ryanair Chase said everything there is to say about the flamboyant fireball. 

He said: "I'll never forget last year's Ryanair. He let fly at the last ditch down the back straight and only barely got to the other side. He scraped the top of it too.

Un De Sceaux and Ruby Walsh on the way to Ryanair success. "He flew the downhill fence and took off outside the wings of the last two fences," recalls the jockey

"I'd say 99 out of 100 horses would have been petrified heading down to the next fence after doing that but he really attacked it, then flew the downhill fence and took off outside the wings of the last two fences. It takes some horse to do that."

Un De Sceaux's regular rider says the ten-year-old we see now is a very different horse to the five-year-old who emerged back in 2013. 

"He couldn't wait to get you out of the parade ring to try to kill you," said Walsh. "It's different now. It's more relaxed. He only took it up after a few fences in the Ryanair and he took a lead no problem at Ascot on Saturday too. 

"He has some enthusiasm. His attitude is remarkable. With most horses like Un De Sceaux, who are enthusiastic and like to get on with things, it's all bark and no bite, but there's just as much bite as there is bark."

Walsh added: "He might run with the choke out but he can grind out a win and he never stops trying. He always gives 100 per cent, no matter what he's doing. He has huge enthusiasm. He's remarkable really."

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There is just as much bite as there is bark with Un De Sceaux
E.W. Terms
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