Clarence House Chase – Race Preview
Saturday sees the annual running of the Clarence House Chase at Ascot. The Clarence House Chase is a Grade 1 event, run over 2 miles and 1 furlong with a total of 13 fences jumped. The race often contains some of the leading contenders for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and this year’s renewal is no different, with the current Champion Chase ante-post favourite Un De Sceaux set to feature.
Un De Sceaux is the current favourite for Saturday’s race and is trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins. Highly rated over hurdles, Un De Sceaux fell on his chasing debut last season before winning four consecutive races including the Grade 1 Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival. Un De Sceaux made his seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown after Christmas but fell again, coming down two fences from home when looking the likely winner. Mullins has commented that he feels Un De Sceaux was perhaps over exuberant at Leopardstown and if he settles better on Saturday, he should take all the beating.
The Gary Moore trained Sire De Grugy won the race in 2014 and he comes into this year’s renewal on the back of victory in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek at Sandown and a second placed effort in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Having won the Champion Chase in 2014, Sire De Grugy underperformed last season but his runs at Sandown at Kempton have shown that there is still life in the ten-year old and a strong run is expected on Saturday before another tilt at the Champion Chase in March, for which he is the current third favourite.
Paul Nicholls will be represented by Vibrato Valtat who has been highly tried so far this season, including finishing behind Sire De Grugy at both Sandown and Kempton. Having not won a Grade 1 contest since December 2014, it would be somewhat of a shock if Vibrato Valtat was able to find the necessary improvement to beat both Un De Sceaux and Sire De Grugy on Saturday.
Simply Ned is another horse who has been highly tried over the last two seasons, competing in both the Champion Chase last season and the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree. His only victory in the last 12 months was in a low-level handicap chase at Kelso and like Vibrato Valtat, it would be a shock if he was to get into the shake-up on Saturday.
Saturday’s field is completed by Traffic Fluide, trained by Gary Moore also. Although highly unlikely to have the ability to trouble Un De Sceaux and stablemate Sire De Grugy, Traffic Fluide did enjoy a good novice season, winning two races before placing third behind God’s Own, who was runner-up in last season’s Arkle. Saturday’s race will be the toughest field Traffic Fluide has encountered and will give connections a better idea of his ability for the coming months.
Un De Sceaux is the current ante-post favourite for Saturday’s race at 1.57 (4/7) with Sire De Grugy available at 3.5 (5/2), Vibrato Valtat at 12 (11/1), Simply Ned at 19 (18/1) and Traffic Fluide at 21 (20/1). The horse racing tip for Saturday’s Clarence House Chase is a forecast bet on Un De Sceaux to beat Sire De Grugy.
By: Scott McGlynn