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So easy for super Sceaux

Un De Sceaux lived up to his billing as he duly landed the odds in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ruby Walsh made all of the running on the 4-6 favourite, trained by Willie Mullins, but he was ridden with a bit more restraint than had been expected.

Even so, Un De Sceaux had all his rivals at full stretch coming down the hill. God's Own (33-1) tried to make a race of it but he could not compete on the run to the line and had to settle for being beaten six lengths in second place.

Josses Hill (12-1) stayed on to take third spot, two lengths away.

The victory gave Mullins and Walsh a double in the first two races of the meeting after Douvan struck in the opener.

Walsh said: "He has got a turn of foot. I wasn't going that hard and I knew that when I gave him a squeeze he would quicken up and he's pinged the last.

"He didn't come to the Festival last year, he went to France twice, and you can see it's made a man of him.

"He's not an easy horse and they have minded and nurtured him. They've done a great job.

"I rode Master Minded and Azertyiuop so going that speed is nothing new to me."

Mullins said: "It was just fantastic. He was very clever. He jumped the first two nicely and settled into a rhythm in his jumping.

"He jumped the water very easy, probably the first time he'd jumped one in his life, then came to the ditch which is a big test for a novice after the water. He pricked his ears and flew it again.

"I got a fright when God's Own came up beside him, but Ruby sat and then he just flew up the hill.

"He's not a typical racehorse and I don't think he's any pedigree, either, which is extraordinary. He is what we call a pure freak."

Mullins will now target Punchestown, and added: "He was very good with his jumping, he's improved so much. He jumped like he was a handicapper the whole way round. Ruby thought he settled better today. He's getting more mature with each race. He set himself up for the fences rather than getting Ruby to do it.

"Some people like to go to Grade One races with a horse when they're not ready, but I'm not keen on doing that. A jumper's career is over many years and I don't want it all at once, you have to let them mature and come round. Today it has paid off. I want them to go up the steps of the ladder one by one."

Tom George was delighted with the effort of God's Own and thought the better ground had helped his cause.

He said: "That isn't a fluke, he was a Grade One winner last year when he beat Champagne Fever and a few others.

"We had a blip in mid-winter but he simply can't go on soft ground . We won't even try running him on soft ground next year, good to soft is as bad as he wants it.

"We will look at Aintree and Punchestown now, see where the best ground is and looking at that he will get two and a half miles."

Nicky Henderson was satisfied with Josses Hill and felt a sound pace had brought out the best in his runner.

He said: "He's run a great race. Fair play to Barry (Geraghty), he always said he would jump better in a faster run race. The quicker pace just helps his impulsion - when they are going slower he's too brave.

"I don't know where we will go next, we could go two and a half miles, but I think Ruby should be fined for speeding!"

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