Sceaux impressive in Ryanair Novice Chase

Punters who backed Un De Sceaux at 1/10 in today’s Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase never had any worries as the outstanding Arkle Chase hero added to Willie Mullins’ great record this week when scoring by three lengths from Just Cameron, running an excellent race for trainer Micky Hammond.

“I thought he made one or two errors going away from the stands and he wasn’t jumping half as well as he did at Cheltenham. He may have been feeling the ground,” said Mullins. “I don’t know if I was more concerned about him than any of my other runners, they all have their pressures.

“He’ll go out to grass now and I’ll get the next few days out of the way before we start thinking about next season. I don’t know what his early targets will be, we’ll work our way back from the spring.”

Ruby Walsh added: “The ground is drying remarkably quickly today. It rode on the quick side for Hurricane Fly and it most certainly did for this fella.

“Un De Sceaux didn’t want to jump off this ground. He was a bit deliberate at the first and jumped quite high at the second. Punchestown have piled on the water but it has been a glorious day with a blowing wind and you can’t defeat nature.”

Avant Tout sprang a 20/1 surprise for Mullins when capturing the Donohue Marquees Handicap Hurdle under the trainer’s nephew Danny.

“He’d run well in a handicap over two miles and that trip was way too short for him,” said the winning trainer. “I didn’t know whether he’d handle this ground but he clearly did.”

Mullins’ incredible run continued when he saddled a 1-2-3 in the Orchid Transport Mares Novice Hurdle after Whiteout (8/1) finished ahead of Uranna and Lyrical Theatre.

WATERING TONIGHT

The hurdles and chase tracks for racing on Friday will be watered overnight. Richie Galway, Punchestown’s Racing Manager, said: “We are forecast a dry day tomorrow so we will water the ground for Friday this evening. We are predicted rain on Friday evening through to Saturday so we won’t water the fresh ground we will use on Saturday.”

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