Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Ryanair Chase on Un De Sceaux
Un De Sceaux put up a tremendous performance to win the Ryanair Chase and give trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a big-race double on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival after taking the JLT Novices’ Chase with Yorkhill.
Walsh made a brave call to take Un De Sceaux to the front as early as the fifth fence as the horse was keen to get on with things.
From then on Un De Sceaux proceeded to put the opposition to the sword with a series of spectacular leaps.
Though Sub Lieutenant made inroads into the deficit on the run to the line, Un De Sceaux (7-4 favourite) was not for stopping and passed the post a length and a half clear. Aso was six lengths away in third.
Walsh said: "I was a passenger. I got him back at the first fence down the back, but he attacked and jumped and he stayed.
"The jump at the last was special. He's a cracking little horse and he's so consistent, he must be a joy to own, he's a little tiger.
"He wants soft ground at two miles which is why we went two and a half miles on better ground.
"It's been a tough year for Willie but he's taken it great, I've worked for him since I was 17 so could eulogise about him all day."
Part-owner Colm O'Connell said: "It's my birthday today, so this is wonderful
"We've only got three horses with Willie. He's the horse of a lifetime, defeat last year in the Queen Mother to Sprinter Sacre hurt, but we're back with a bang now.
"Ruby is a genius because he lets him do his own thing, he doesn't panic.
"Our job is to pay the bills, they told us he'd stay and that was it. It all makes sense now."