Sceaux passes his French test
Ruby Walsh made a successful return to action as Un De Sceaux landed the valuable Grade Three Prix Leon Rambaud at Auteuil in France.
The dual French bumper winner has made a huge impression since making his debut for champion trainer Willie Mullins in February of last year, barely coming off the bridle in his first five starts over hurdles in Ireland and the unbeaten six-year-old was sent off at a short price to reprise last month's course and distance success at the Paris track where he had five of today's six rivals behind him.
Walsh, who was making his comeback from the injuries he suffered at the Cheltenham Festival, adopted his usual position at the head of affairs and gradually extended his advantage in the two and a half mile contest.
The challengers loomed up in Walsh's wing mirrors at the top of the straight with Saint Du Chenet the first to challenge, with Gemix waiting in the wings, but Un De Sceaux skipped over the final flight and stayed on for pressure to take the prize with something to spare.
Le Grand Luce finished strongly to grab the runner-up spot, with Saint Du Chenet third and Gemix back in fourth.
Mullins is unsure whether Un De Sceaux will run again before being given a summer break, saying: "It was a good performance as the ground is very testing and he was staying on well at the end.
"I don't have anything else in mind for him at this stage, but we'll have a look at the French calendar when we get home. I don't think there is anything in Ireland or England for him, so if he is to run again it will probably be in France.
"He doesn't need another run. He's had a great season already and we're not particularly anxious to run him again - unless an opportunity presents itself."
The champion trainer is similarly in no rush to decide on plans for next season with his exciting youngster, who could remain over hurdles or begin a career over fences.
"That is another day's work and something we'll have a look at later," said Mullins. "For the moment we'll enjoy today and another good win for the horse."
Sky Bet cut him to 8/1 from 10s for the 2015 Champion Hurdle and their Michael Shinners said: "That was as easy as shelling peas and congratulations must go to connections for winning another valuable prize.
"Un De Sceaux is now unbeaten in nine starts and we still don't know how good he is or how good he could be.
"There's got to be a changing of the guard in Willie Mullins' Champion Hurdle contenders for next season and this fellow has to be considered one of the leading candidates to assume Hurricane Fly's mantle."