Ascot: Un De Sceaux wins Clarence House Chase
Favourite Un De Sceaux romped to a five-lengths victory over former champion chaser Sire De Grugy in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old endorsed his claims to be a leading contenders at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Ridden by Ruby Walsh, the 1-2 chance was never headed and remains unbeaten in the 14 races he has completed.
Sire De Grugy (11-2) held on for second from stablemate Traffic Fluide (33-1).
Five out it looked like 2014 winner Sire De Grugy might have the answer, but Un De Sceaux hit top gear between the last two fences and jumped immaculately to power away from the field.
Gary Moore, Sire De Grugy's trainer, said: "Obviously he's not good enough to beat Un De Sceaux. The winner had run the finish out of him and just took the edge out of what he normally finds. The winner is obviously a very good horse."
BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
Hopes Un De Sceaux might meet his match in Sire De Grugy, and provide a welcome boost for the British contingent at March's Cheltenham Festival, which Willie Mullins is set to dominate again, were swept aside here.
Having fallen last time out, UDS jumped brilliantly, putting himself right when needed. I'm afraid Sire De Grugy, an outstanding performer, was simply humbled.
Such is Mullins' strength ahead of Cheltenham, he's being backed to become the first Irish trainer to be champion in Britain since Vincent O'Brien in the 1953-54 season.