'It’s just how he copes with 65,000 people and the noise of the festival' - Ruby on Un De Sceaux

The odds on shot for the Arkle Chase is temperamental to say the least.

Un de Sceaux could win or lose the Arkle Chase before it even begins.
Un de Sceaux could win or lose the Arkle Chase before it even begins.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

RUBY WALSH HAS revealed that his most important role when riding Un De Sceaux in the Arkle Chase will be to prevent the prodigious chaser from boiling over in the preliminaries.

The odds-on shot, who is owned by Glanmire-based businessman Eddie O’Connell, tends to get keyed up before races and performs in a cavalier fashion that has captured the hearts of the racing public.

The Cheltenham experience will be a new one for the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old and speaking on podcast Talking Horses, which is recorded live on Racing FM, Walsh admitted that he had a slight concern about the gelding’s temperament.

“Un De Sceaux is probably the most uncomplicated ride I have of the week” said Walsh. “Tactics are fairly straightforward and everyone knows what you’re going to do.

“I was delighted with him in Leopardstown on Saturday. He went a really good gallop and jumped super. I thought he worked really, really well. I think he’s improved a bit since he won the Irish Arkle.

“I hope temperament-wise he takes it. I know he’ll take the travelling ‘cos he’s been to Auteuil twice. It’s just how he copes with 65,000 people and the noise and atmosphere of the festival. Once he doesn’t flip his lid I think he’s a massive, massive player.

“He does (get hot) but if he goes around Cheltenham and walks around like a dead duck I’d be twice as worried. He’s going to get revved it’s just how revved he gets. He’ll have to canter up by the stand and turn at the top and canter all the way back down to the start.

“I just hope he doesn’t lose the plot between the parade ring and the start but it’s my job to keep the lid on him and hopefully we’ll manage that.

“I’ve always loved him as a jumper. I was really taken by him in Auteuil when I rode him, even more than I was riding him over a normal Irish conventional hurdle. I’ve enjoyed riding him so far over fences. He has a hell of a big engine and hopefully he can go to Cheltenham and do himself justice.”

Walsh spoke at length on many of his intended engagements next Week and revealed that he would make his decision on whether to ride Faugheen or Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle on Sunday, after both had arrived in Cheltenham.

Gavin Cooney
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