Willie Mullins’ charge a best price 10/11 to win at the Cheltenham Festival
The bookies were quick to slash their odds about Un De Sceaux winning the Racing Post Arkle Trophy in March after the horse produced an amazing performance to win comfortably on Sunday.
Un De Sceaux had been trading at 2/1 for the Arkle before the race, although Ruby Walsh steered the horse to a facile win in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase which suggested he will take a lot of stopping at the Cheltenham Festival.
Betway are one of the few firms to quote 10/11 about a win for the Irish raider and the jockey was full of praise for a horse that is likely to make all the running against his opponents at Prestbury Park.
“They’re two good horses behind him, Gilgamboa and Clarcam,” Walsh told At The Races. “We went a good, honest gallop. I think the boys thought I might go a bit faster, but I thought I was going plenty quick.
“He jumped really well. He was good and brave down the back, he was very clever at the second-last and he quickened away from them and won very well at the death.
“I’d love the way he quickened off the bend and galloped all the way to the line. It’s a tough test here. People don’t realise how stiff Leopardstown is.
“For a front-runner that does everything on the bridle and going forward, he does find. He doesn’t stop. You know there’s a bit in the tank.
“This hasn’t been an easy horse to mind, train, ride, anything. To get him where he is now is a job well done.
“I suppose he’s a bit like Azertyuiop. Azertyuiop was forward-going. Master Minded was a great ride. Azertyuiop took a bit of riding. He was always on your hands and wanting to go and this fellow is the same.
“I love the way he goes at fences. Even if he gets it wrong, he doesn’t back off.”
Walsh went on: “I know from riding him in Auteuil, and even from the day Barry Geraghty rode him in Auteuil, that when you give him a smack there is something in the tank. He’s not just a ‘flash harry’ that when you get after him, he goes to a trot, when you do give him a smack, he does find plenty.
“I was letting him go forwards today as he won’t be running again before Cheltenham so I was trying to teach him. Today was all about ‘go’ because the Arkle will be all about ‘go’.
“He was long at the first down the back and I was giving him the office to go if he wanted to and if he wanted to get in (close) the option was there for him, but he stood at the wings and came.”
Mullins said: “His jumping was fantastic today and he looked reasonably settled”.