Paul Townend on Un De Sceaux and rides at Navan and Leopardstown
Un De Sceaux has had a brilliant career and it was amazing for the O’Connell’s in Cork to come across a horse like him.
Unfortunately, he probably wasn’t at his best on his last run at Ascot but his run before that was very good at Sandown and then at Punchestown twelve months ago when he won the Champion Chase.
He performed at the highest of levels for a long time so he will be badly missed and will be very hard to replace.
My favourite memory was definitely the Champion Chase last year when he beat Min. That was the best feeling I’ve ever got off him. The real Un De Sceaux turned up that day. He was a proper two-mile chaser and he was a horse who lived on the edge.
I have two rides at Navan tomorrow, starting with Golden Spread (3.28). The trip and ground should suit him. He came on from his first run at Cork but we thought he would come on a bit better.
He didn’t put up much of a fight at Thurles the last day. He will have to improve plenty from that again. He has good bumper form and he just needs to find that again.
Cut The Mustard (4.03) was impressive when winning the mares’ race at Naas the last day. She will probably have to produce a career best to win this. She has done nothing wrong over fences.
She is two from two and she is going the right way. Fences have probably improved her from her hurdle mark so that will give her a chance. However, this is definitely the toughest ask yet.
On Sunday, I have two rides again at Leopardstown. Jon Snow (2.30) has been running well without winning in competitive maidens. I don’t think he has to find a whole lot more improvement to win.
If asked at the start of the season would he still be a maiden this time of year, we would have hoped not but I hope he can rectify that on Sunday. It represents a nice opportunity for him.
My final ride is Listen Dear (3.05). She is coming here off the back of a bad fall over fences at Leopardstown. Hopefully that hasn’t dented her confidence. A bit like Un De Sceaux, she wears her heart on her sleeve. She likes to get on with things.
She won well at Limerick at the start of the season over a lot further. The drop back in trip isn’t ideal and coming back off the back of a fall isn’t ideal. I think her very best form will give her a chance but she just hasn’t been running to that standard of late.
My best chance over the weekend will be on Jon Snow. I am hoping he can get off the mark and get a win to his name. I have fancied him a few times this year and he hasn’t come up trumps but hopefully he can do it this weekend.
This is the busiest time of the year for us getting all the horses ready and trying to work out where they are going to go. When the week of Cheltenham comes, all the work should be done by then so this week and next week are probably the busiest times for us.