Un De Sceaux ready for anything in pursuit of a second Ryanair Chase
While Britain is likely to be preoccupied by 'the beast from the east' for a while connections of Un De Sceaux are confident their 'wonder from the west' will handle anything the weather and the opposition can throw at him at Cheltenham.
Colm O’Connell, son of Un De Sceaux’s owner Eddie, says the family’s pride and joy could be good value at 5-2 for his repeat bid in the Ryanair Chase.
He said: “I’m watching the weather very closely. We all know he loves heavy ground, and if you look through his races the majority of the horses who have finished second to him on heavy ground have basically had their hearts torn out and have never gone on to do much afterwards."
He added: “They do a fantastic job on the ground at Cheltenham, but if the frost were to get into it and if it were to come up gluey we know Un De Sceaux will handle it whereas others won’t.
“I suppose, you could say if the weather forecasters are right, 5-2 about him winning the Ryanair could be good value.”
No soft touch
Un De Sceaux broke the €1 million mark for prize-money earned in his career when he won the Clarence House Chase at Ascot – his third straight win in the race – and will be chasing his third festival success, having won the Arkle in 2015 and last year’s Ryanair.
However, O'Connell knows the Ryanair will be no soft touch, especially with Cue Card being directed at the race.
Speaking about Cue Card, and the remaining opposition, O’Connell said: “He [Cue Card] is a super horse and we wouldn't be underestimating him.
“It's funny, I was only looking back at all of his races the other day and his Champion Bumper win back in 2010 was one I'll never forget.
“His colours are quite similar to our own so if you're even a small bit colour blind you'd nearly mistake the two of them if they both line out in the race!
“But look, it's a fantastic race with Waiting Patiently in there, and sooner or later the Gigginstown boys will win the race and Balko Des Flos would look to have a very good chance as well. We can't wait.”
Bachasson may be up for the Cup
The O’Connell family may be struggling to keep a lid on their excitement as Cheltenham approaches, but they have double the reason for butterflies this year, with Gold Cup dark horse Bachasson also in the mix.
O’Connell explained: “We're counting down the hours. This is nearly the worst time as there's still over two weeks to go and you're just hoping and praying everything goes to plan between now and then.
“Bachasson was brilliant at Thurles in November and was equally as good at Tramore at the beginning of the year, after which Willie [Mullins] gave him a few easy weeks, but he's back doing very well again.
“He's priced up at 50-1 for the Gold Cup with a few bookmakers and if I thought he'd go there I wouldn't be leaving that behind me.
"We'll see what Willie says in the next few weeks, but for small owners like ourselves to possibly have two runners at the festival, it’s the stuff dreams are made of.”
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