Willie Mullins is giving serious thought to running Un De Sceaux in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 23.
Last season’s brilliant Arkle winner fell on his return to action at Leopardstown over Christmas and could make the trip across the Irish Sea in an attempt to set the record straight.
Un De Sceaux could run against the likes of Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre in the Ascot Grade One, but also has an alternative option closer to home.
Mullins said: “We are looking at it – there aren’t a great many options for him so I made the entry.
“There is also the Tied Cottage at Punchestown a week later.
“I wasn’t pleased with his jumping overall on the day (at Leopardstown).
“I don’t know if something upset him beforehand, but he definitely wasn’t himself.”
Meanwhile Oliver Sherwood is busy plotting the path back to Aintree for his Grand National winner Many Clouds, with a trip to Kelso a possible option.
Sherwood is still training him for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham’s Trials Day, but with Gold Cup runner up Djakadam, Hennessy winner Smad Place and 2014 RSA hero O’Faolains Boy all in the mix for that race, Many Clouds could swerve it.
Newbury’s Denman Chase is another option, as are two races at the Borders track, with Sherwood wanting to get two more runs into Many Clouds before he attempts to become the first back-to-back National winner since Red Rum.
“We are still aiming towards the Cotswold Chase, but at the moment it seems like every man and his dog are, too,” said Sherwood.
“With that in mind, the Denman Chase at Newbury is also a possibility, but I’ve had a look and there are also two options for him at Kelso.
“There’s one on February 18 (Ivan Straker Memorial) and then there’s one in early March (Totepool Premier Chase).
“I really want to get two runs into him before the National, just because I want to get the mileage into his legs, really.
“I’m training him for Cheltenham but it could change.
“He ran a blinder at Aintree and Don Poli came out and won the Lexus and his Wetherby run looks all the better now, too, as he was trying to give 10lb to Cue Card and look what he has done since.”
Sherwood has been forced to rule Puffin Billy out for the season.
The talented eight-year-old signed off last term with three successive wins, including a valuable event at Ayr’s Grand National meeting. He was due to make his comeback at Sandown in November but was found to be lame on the morning of the race and had his sights set on Kempton this weekend.
However, another minor problem has flared up and Sherwood feels the best course of action will be to give him plenty of time off.
“We’ve decided to give him the rest of this season off,” said Sherwood.
“He’s just got a minor joint problem and while it wouldn’t take that long to come right and will eventually settle down, we thought it best to give him a long break.
“It’s just been a bit stop-start this year so it’s probably the best course of action.”
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