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Ruby Walsh exclusive: There’s tough decisions to be made with just three weeks left to Cheltenham 2014

Top jock Ruby Walsh reviews the weekend winners who could yet be players at next month's Festival.

by Ruby Walsh | February 18, 2014

With just three weeks left to Cheltenham trainers are trying to bring their horses to a peak. It’s a fine line, Back off them and they’ll lack for fitness and get found out. Too much and you’ll flatten a horse. It’s a tightrope and every trainer’s walking it at the moment.

Un de Sceaux

He did what he was entitled to do at Gowran Park last Saturday and is learning to settle a little better.  He’s quite hot and takes plenty of minding in his races but he’s going the right direction with every run.

With his style of racing you’re trying your best not to go too hard on him but he’s a stout stayer and goes plenty fast.

There’s been a bit of chat on whether or not he goes to the festival next month. All I know is that whatever Willie’s decides has to be respected. He’ll be looking at the big picture for Un de Sceaux’s career and not just one race at Cheltenham this season.

Un de Sceaux840

Turban

He seemed to over jump the third last and pecked a bit before pressing the winner Argocat all the way to the line. His rating of 151 and is a little bit in no man’s land now being rated too high in the handicaps and that bit below the best in the graded races. He may need a drop back in trip to 2m to return to winning ways. But he’s already won a big pot at Fairyhouse so has himself well paid for this season.

Dunguib

Looked very good on Sunday at Navan. I was flat to the boards all the way on Zaidpour and Dunguib travelled strongly and won well. I suppose you have to look at the big picture and he’ll face a big hike in the weights now (from 148) and that will make his task at Cheltenham a bit stiffer.

My Tent or Yours

I saw his win in a Kempton bumper on Sunday and he won like he was entitled to. That should leave him spot on for the Champion Hurdle as it was like a piece of work and the connections got paid for it.

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Foxrock

Might have been value for a little more than his victory at Navan suggested. It was a good performance and jumped soundly and stays really well. I’m sure Dad (Ted) will be seeing how he gets over the race before he makes a decision about Cheltenham.

Inis Meain

He seemed to jump a bit better when winning at Navan at the weekend. He’s going in the right direction and was a classy horse on the Flat in France when rated 104.  He’ll have to jump better again if he goes for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham next month. He’s improving though.

RacingScene

Un Temps Pour Tout

David Pipe’s expensive French import looked very good. A strong, staying type, who obviously improved for his first run in England. He’ll be a player at Cheltenham wherever he goes. He’d have a  good chance in the Neptune Hurdle and there’s talk he might get an entry for the Coral Cup.

Of the supposed Grand National trials I don’t think I saw a potential Aintree National winner yet. TeaforThree ran fine but there’s a good bit more required to win the 4m 4f showpiece. He was bang there to win his race and I’m not sure if he had too much more to offer although he was third in the National last year.

Captain Chris

Realistically, I can’t see him winning the Blue Riban as only the three at the top of the market have that chance in my view. But Philip Hobbs is entitled to let him take his chance and he says he’s in better form going there this years than last when he finished sixth behind Bobs Worth.

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