Moore is Sceaux respectful
Un De Sceaux will face five rivals when he bids for back-to-back victories in the Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
Un De Sceaux: Takes on Ar Mad
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old was a red-hot favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off the back of a superb victory in this Grade One contest 12 months ago, but proved no match for a resurgent Sprinter Sacre at Prestbury Park nor in the Celebration Chase at Sandown.
But with Sprinter Sacre retired, Un De Sceaux made a successful start to the current campaign in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in early December and he is odds-on to follow up.
Gary Moore's Ar Mad renews rivalry from Sandown. Having been sidelined by injury since last February, the seven-year-old ran a tremendous race from the front in the Tingle Creek before fading into fourth place.
With stablemate Sire De Grugy ruled out of the race earlier this week and Ar Mad's regular rider Josh Moore sidelined, Jamie Moore comes in for the mount aboard Sky Bet's 2/1 second favourite.
However, Moore has told Talksport2 that his battles with Un De Sceaux aboard Sire De Grugy over the past couple of seasons have given him nothing but respect for the market-leader.
Reflecting upon the Tingle Creek Chase, in which Moore finished second on Sire De Grugy and his brother a close-up fourth on Ar Mad, the jockey said: "Un De Sceaux was probably the best horse on the day. Ar Mad has come on for that but he wasn't desperately unfit – there will be a bit of improvement, but I'm pretty sure there is going to be a bit of improvement from Un De Sceaux as well.
"He's a great horse, he tries very hard, he's a horse that you can't not like. I headed him up the hill at Sandown and he battled back. When I tried to beat him in the Clarence House Chase last year he just stuck his head down and he was like a little terrier. He's a real trier, Willie's done a great job with him and so has Ruby [Walsh].
"Of course we can beat him, but I'm realistic and now he's going to be a hard horse to beat and it won't be easy."
Asked if Ar Mad and Sire De Grugy might clash again later this season, Moore said: "I wouldn't be surprised if Ar Mad goes up in trip, I think he could be more of a stayer, whereas Sire De Grugy is more of an out-and-out two-miler. It wouldn't surprise me if they might not ever meet again.
"He's not been right since Kempton. He's not been quite himself since then. I know him inside out and I haven't been that happy with his work. If he'd worked really well on Tuesday morning, they would have run against each other but he isn't firing at the minute so we're just going to try and sweeten him up a bit.
Also set to line up on Saturday is Dodging Bullets, who won the Tingle Creek, this race and the Champion Chase two seasons ago. The nine-year-old has not been in the same form since, but is given the chance to regain his Clarence House crown by Paul Nicholls.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Royal Regatta, Kerry Lee's Top Gamble and Eastlake from Jonjo O'Neill's stable complete the field.
Special Tiara and Sire De Grugy were the two withdrawals at the final declaration stage.
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