20 Jan Un De Sceaux heads seven Clarence House runners
Un De Sceaux could bid to get back on track in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday following the confirmation stage.
Last season’s Arkle Trophy winner blotted his copybook when falling at the second-last when still travelling well in front at Leopardstown last month.
However, he remains ante-post favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and featured amongst seven horses remaining in the Grade One over an extended two miles at the Berkshire course.
Trainer Willie Mullins, who has also left in Felix Yonger, is keen to give Un De Sceaux a prep run before Cheltenham at either Ascot or in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on January 31.
Should Un De Sceaux line up on Saturday then he is likely to clash with Sire De Grugy.
Gary Moore’s stable star lifted this prize in 2014 on the way to achieving glory in the Champion Chase.
After a mixed last campaign, Sire De Grugy has returned to form this winter, winning the Tingle Creek at Sandown for a second time and just going down to Sprinter Sacre after an epic duel in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last month.
Moore could also be represented by Traffic Fluide, who was last seen taking minor honours in the Grade One Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April.
Sprinter Sacre was the only withdrawal at the five-day stage, with his trainer Nicky Henderson keeping in Captain Conan, who has been sidelined since fracturing his pelvis in two places during the 2014 Champion Chase won by Sprinter Sacre.
Completing the septet are Nicky Richards’ Simply Ned, runner-up in the Leopardstown race behind Flemenstar in which Un De Sceaux fell, and Vibrato Valtat.
The Paul Nicholls-trained grey was three and three-quarter lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Kempton last time.
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