Remembering Un De Sceaux - The Horse Of A Lifetime - The Rugby Observer

Remembering Un De Sceaux - The Horse Of A Lifetime

Rugby Editorial 22nd Sep, 2023   0

He was a horse that captured the imagination of the racing public every time he appeared on the track and one that provided many awe-inspiring moments throughout his career.

A front-running machine that used his speed and jumping prowess to great effect, the Willie Mullins-trained superstar will go down as one of the best two-mile chasers in history.

Lucky Owners

As stated, Un De Sceaux was the horse of a lifetime, and that is particularly true for the equine superstar’s owners, the O’Connell family. Just like the sight of their horse flying over fences, the sight of Eddie O’Connell and other family and friends with racehorse shares adorned in their light blue and orange scarves became famous during the horse’s career.

So refreshing it was to see a syndicate being enjoyed by family members rubbing shoulders with the millionaires in the parade ring, proving that there are many more ways to enjoy racehorse ownership than simply forking out huge amounts of money.

Horseracing syndicates are much more prevalent in the racing world in the present day, but the O’Connell family were one of the first to hit the headlines as Un De Sceaux brought them to places they could never have dreamed of.

Early Years In Ireland

Having arrived from France with an unblemished record from two starts, Un De Sceaux made his debut to little fanfare at Punchestown and having easily seen off the opposition, he would go on to be unbeaten over hurdles in his debut season, including a Grade 2 at Gowran and two further Graded races in his native land.

However successful Un De Sceaux was over hurdles, he was always going to be a better horse when faced with the larger obstacles. Sent off as a 1/8 favourite for his chase debut at Thurles, his exuberance when jumping became his downfall when he fell at the third last with the race at his mercy.

Chasing Champion

It was a disastrous start over fences for the apple of the O’Connell family’s eye, but he would quickly make up for it with a season full of top-level performances in the industry’s biggest

races. A 15-length victory in the Irish Arkle was followed by a bloodless win in the Cheltenham Festival equivalent, each time jumping fantastically from the front to the excitement of the crowd.

Stepping out of Novice company the following season, Un De Sceaux would win two more Grade 1’s, but he would then begin a battle with the brilliant Sprinter Sacre which would play throughout the rest of the season. Nicky Henderson’s horse would ultimately come out on top, with his Champion Chase win being the highlight.

“Un De Sceaux” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

More Cheltenham Success And Retirement

Willie Mullins and the O’Connell family would make the decision to step their star up in trip for the following season and it proved to be a masterstroke by connections as Un De Sceaux would then go on to win the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in 2017.

He would still show his penchant for 2 miles, however, winning two Punchestown Champion Chases before the O’Connell family decided to call time on his amazing career in 2020.

An amazing career came to an end and Un De Sceaux will be fondly remembered by racing fans for his exciting front-running tactics, jumping exuberance and unending will to win.

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