Ryanair is Sceaux perfect
UN De Sceaux remains on course for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, according to trainer Willie Mullins. No match for Sprinter Sacre in the two-mile championship last year, his handler stressed: “It’s the Ryanair for him, ground or no ground. “He’s settling better as he gets older and there should be no issue with the trip.” Mullins, who was speaking at his annual pre-festival press day at Closutton, also indicated that both Shaneshill and Clondaw Warrior in the Stayers Hurdle. The stable will be strongly-represented across the novice division at Cheltenham, with Mullins confirming that it’s a case of “all good” with Yorkhill ahead of his bid for the JLT Novice Chase. But Grade 1 winner Saturnas is expected to miss Cheltenham due to a pulled muscle. Mullins indicated that Let’s Dance and Airlie Beach might have to clash in the Dawn Run Mares Novice Hurdle, with Augusta Kate set to renew Naas rivalry with Gordon Elliott’s Death Duty in the Albert Bartlett, also the likely target for the likes of C’est Jersey and Kemboy. Mullins intends to run at least four in the Supreme Novices – the highly-regarded Melon, Bunk Off Early, Crack Mome and Cilaos Emery and referred to the likelihood of Ruby Walsh choosing to ride Melon as “an easy enough decision.” Bapaume and Marie Devie - “better than her last run in Leopardstown” - will be the Closutton representatives in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. And Mullins has made five entries for the Champion Bumper – favourite Carter Mckay, Ballyward (recovering from a pulled muscle), Next Destination and the mares Red hot filly pepper and Mystical Theatre.
CHELTENHAM-BOUND Willie Mullins’ Un De Sceaux