Pints on O'Connell as super Sceaux skates in to provide owners with local win
On the walls inside Cork racecourse are reminders of some brilliant Willie Mullins-trained horses such as Douvan and Golden Silver who made their mark on the Hilly Way Chase, but yesterday the stage was set for the champion trainer’s Un De Sceaux to deliver and he didn’t disappoint.
The O’Connell family, who are proud Cork people, were all present to witness their seven-time Grade 1 winner racing at their local racecourse for the first time.
After opting to begin the star chaser in the Tingle Creek on this weekend last season, a race Un De Sceaux won in dramatic fashion before posting two more top-flight successes, the owners were left with the unusual circumstance of travelling just 30 minutes down the road to see their prized performer in action.
Colm O’Connell, son of Glanmire businessman Eddie, was asked afterwards what the success meant and his response was refreshingly honest: “Local pints!”
Indeed, if a 25-length victory on your seasonal debut doesn’t merit a celebration it begs the question, what does?
Un De Sceaux was sublime in posting a performance that may provide an ideal stepping stone towards the Clarence House Chase at Ascot, according to O’Connell.
He said: “Hopefully it will be onwards and upwards from here. I will talk to Willie later today and maybe something like the Clarence House Chase at Ascot could be next for him.
“I was very happy with him - they went a nice sensible pace for the first mile and after that it was just a case of him seeing it out. It’s our local track which means local pints! We’ll go back to The Castle in Glenmire to celebrate now.”
'He's so clever and sharp'
With Ruby Walsh on the sidelines and Paul Townend in action at Punchestown, David Mullins was the man entrusted with doing the steering, and the Grand National-winning pilot was left purring afterwards.
He said: “That was a first time I have ever sat on a horse like him. For a horse that goes so hard, he’s just so clever and sharp.
“You’re just a pure passenger on him and he does everything himself. He was tugging, but I think a horse jumped into me at the first because I felt something - and that just set him alight a bit - but he was straightforward after that.
“There was never any doubt and he’s so sure of himself. It was a pleasure to ride him and if there were a few more like him it would make life easier. He loved the conditions and ploughed through the ground - jumped really was as well.”