Ar Mad set a scorching pace when fourth to Un De Sceaux on his comeback run in the Tingle Creek and Ascot's Clarence House Chase on Saturday night looks set to produce another scintillating spectacle.
With both Special Tiara and Un De Sceaux preferring to race on the pace, Ar Mad and Jamie Moore will likely have to set another very strong pace in the Grade 1 Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase and should set up another fascinating clash.
The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux was an impressive winner of the Tingle Creek as after travelling strongly the nine-year-old lacked fluency at the final two fences but showed a game attitude to hold off Ar Mad's stablemate Sire De Grugy. The latter holds an entry but will miss Saturday's contest, however his trainer Gary Moore should be confident Ar Mad can get closer than his rallying fourth at Sandown.
Ar Mad had proved himself as one of the most exciting novices in training last season before injury ruled him out of a tilt at the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival. The seven-year-old was returning from a ten month lay-off in Sandown's Tingle Creek and there was a lot to like about how he rallied following a bad mistake down the back straight. Moore is potentially looking at stepping Ar Mad up in distance this season with the Ryanair Chase a more likely long-term Festival target than the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the extra furlong (2m1f) on Saturday will very much be in his favour.
Third in the last two renewals of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Henry De Bromhead's likeable Special Tiara adds further intrigue to the line-up but may be worth taking on at the age of ten following his latest success in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton where he made hard work off favourable terms in beating two rivals following Sire De Grugy's early departure.
Live on Sky Racing the Clarence House Chase looks a great clash between Un De Sceaux and Ar Mad, with the latter likely to have come on for the Sandown clash and perhaps providing the value against the predicted short-priced favourite.
Listed - East Cape Guineas
G3 - Kings Cup
G2 - Resource Recycling Superstars Championship
G3 - Lamb & Hayward 4&5yo Trotting Championship
G2 - Storer Motors Nz Trotting Oaks