/ Racing

Un De Sceaux aimed at Auteil rather than Punchestown

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 17:53 | Comments

Willie Mullins' French import Un De Sceaux raced twice in his native land before being making the move to Closutton
Willie Mullins' French import Un De Sceaux raced twice in his native land before being making the move to Closutton

Un De Sceaux is set to return to Auteuil on Saturday instead of lining up in the Racing Post Champion Hurdle at next week's Punchestown Festival.

Willie Mullins' exciting six-year-old stretched his unbeaten record to eight when holding on from Gemix in the Prix Hypothese in Paris at the end of March, his first attempt at an extended two miles and three furlongs.

Connections considered letting him lock horns with stablemate Hurricane Fly at Punchestown on Friday week, but he will instead head back to France to tackle the same course and distance in this weekend's Prix Leon Rambaud.

In the absence of sidelined stable jockey Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty did the steering last time, but Walsh is set to be back in the saddle on Saturday, with Gemix again likely to be Un De Sceaux's most serious opponent.

Mullins said: "That's the plan (to run at Auteuil). It's the same trip as last time and I think Ruby is going to ride him.

"The horse is going over there in good order."

Mullins has yet to reveal which race star mare Annie Power will tackle at Punchestown.

The six-year-old suffered her first defeat in 11 starts when finding More Of That too strong in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham on her first attempt at three miles.

She is entered in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle, the Racing Post Champion Hurdle and the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders' Fund Mares Champion Hurdle at next week's showpiece meeting.

Mullins told At The Races: "She ran into a cracker (in More Of That), I'd say. People probably don't appreciate how good he is.

"We probably ran a little bit free, which is not the ideal way for a three-mile horse.

"She's in Champion Hurdle, she's in the stayers' hurdle and she's in the mares' hurdle. We won't make any decision until we have to."

While the champion trainer is keeping his cards close to his chest, he did hint the World Series Hurdle, a race in which incredible stable companion Quevega looks set to bid for a remarkable fifth consecutive victory, was Annie Power's least likely option of the three.

Mullins said: "I think she can go any trip. We would probably ride her a bit different over three miles.

"Her method of racing probably suggests a shorter trip than three might be better."

Asked whether she could clash with Quevega, he said: "I wouldn't think it's necessary, so we'll probably keep them apart."

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