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Ruby's Sceaux to sparkle

By Richard Forristal

After paying the price for a careless mistake at the third-last fence when tanking along in splendid isolation at Thurles, Un De Sceaux has a second stab at chasing this afternoon at Fairyhouse.

Willie Mullins' relentless, bold-jumping front-runner did lots right for Ruby Walsh last month, including showing the capacity to shorten up at a fence when asked to do so.

He simply lost his concentration briefly when cruising along in Walsh's hands, and the hope now is that he will have learned from that.

If Un De Sceaux has, he should make amends in the beginners chase, although this is a better race than last time.

Minella Foru and Western Boy are both capable of showing up well, while Rory O'Moore has the potential to upset the favourite early on if Andrew McNamara tries to allow Ronnie O'Neill's charge to adopt his customary pace-setting tactics.

The chances are, though, that Un De Sceaux's high cruising speed is more likely to unsettle Rory O'Moore, which is tackling fences for a first time.

As we saw at Thurles, anything could happen, but it is impossible to oppose Un De Sceaux.

Some horses are prone to lapses in concentration and the exciting six-year-old fits the profile of a horse that might be, given his flamboyant style and tendency to race in isolation. This is a chance to show he isn't going to make a habit of falling asleep on the job.

As ever, Mullins has a raft of chances throughout the card, with Arbre De Vie and Stone Hard also fancied to collect.

Noel Meade's consistent Champoleon is Arbre De Vie's most potent threat in the maiden hurdle, but Rich Ricci's four-year-old French import could be anything.

Third on his hurdle bow at Auteuil in March, the son of Antartique is sure to be sufficiently ready, so if he is good enough he should win.

Stone Hard makes its debut under Patrick Mullins in the bumper.

A son of Robin Des Champs that was acquired by Mullins for €215,000 at Goffs last year, the half-brother to JP McManus's promising The Doorman readily won its only point-to-point start for Gordon Elliott at Oldtown in March.

It will be a surprise if he doesn't follow up here on his bumper bow.

The day's nap is Thunder And Roses in the longer beginners chase.

Mullins' Val De Ferbet is a contender, though the main threat may come from Tony Martin's potentially smart Noble Emperor, which finished over seven lengths behind Thunder And Roses when fourth on its chasing debut here last month.

Martin's McManus-owned gelding is sure to keep improving, but he may not do so at the rate required to win today.

Second to the classy Apache Stronghold first time up at Down Royal, the Sandra Hughes-trained Thunder And Roses emerged with plenty credit behind Adriana Des Mottes and Rule The World last time.

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