After a week of ‘will-he-won’t-he’ headlines surrounding the potential participation of superstar stablemate Douvan at Sandown, it is Un De Sceaux who picks up the gauntlet for the powerhouse Irish duo.
Un De Sceaux is hardly a bad horse to have as an apparent second string, and while he was beaten at odds on in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and also second at Sandown, the only horse in front of him was the mighty Sprinter Sacre.
“We’d ideally want the ground softer, it’s going to be a tough test,” said Mullins. “We’re up against battle-hardened horses and our fellow will need to be in top form.”
For Walsh, who is less of a passenger these days on the former tearaway, the Railway fences are likely to be some thrill. “The ground is only good to soft and when they’ve had the frost covers on it tends to ride a bit better,” he said.
“It’s always a great race to watch and he’s always a good ride. It’s a competitive race, but he’s still top-rated and he’s an exciting horse to ride.”
Likely to be taking Un De Sceaux on for the lead is Gary Moore’s Ar Mad.
Impressive winner of the Henry VIII on this card last year, he was cruelly forced to miss the big spring meetings through injury.
For a relatively small yard Moore is in the awkward position of having to run his two best horses in the same race, as Sire De Grugy, twice a former winner of this, also lines up. Adding further split loyalties for the trainer is that Ar Mad is ridden by one son, Josh, with brother Jamie on Sire De Grugy.