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Un De Sceaux is hard to oppose

January 20th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Naturally I was pleased when Houblon Des Obeaux kept on willingly to snatch fourth at Warwick last week. The bonus was the 14/1 SP and a profit on the line of 25 units. Things became even better when Pink Gin, brought along with commendable patience by Jim Old, went in at 8/1 at Exeter on Tuesday. Things are ticking over quite well.

The New One has won Haydock’s Champion Hurdle Trial for the last two years and will be well fancied to go in again on Saturday. He is not good enough to win the big one but it is most unfair to knock a horse which has accumulated so much win and place prize-money. He will handle it all right if Haydock comes up heavy again – unlikely as things stand – and is probably the one to beat, though I think there may be some value in CLYNE, who won in the fog here last time, is maintaining an impressive winning run and will not mind very soft conditions.

The Peter Marsh Chase looks very tricky, with two or three of them closely matched on recent running. However, DEFINITLY RED was a fluent winner last time and, much though I dislike siding with horses raised 8lb, I can see him going very close.

If Ar Mad puts it all together and avoids the kind of mistake he made in the Tingle Creek, he has the ability to challenge odds-on favourite UN DE SCEAUX in the Grade 1 Clarence House at Ascot. This looks a two-horse race to me and I’d be prepared to take a short price about Willie Mullins’ challenger, who probably has the measure of Britain’s best over two miles, thereby underlining his trainer’s extraordinary strength in depth.

Lizzie Kelly’s 5lb allowance will help Nick Williams’ LE ROCHER in the handicap hurdle over two and a half miles. A very good novice, Le Rocher was off the course for a long time with a troublesome injury but, upon returning, Williams was inclined to campaign him at the highest level. Wiser counsel prevailed and the horse is probably no more than a talented handicapper. No one will mind that if he goes in at a good price over the weekend.

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