Willie Mullins will saddle Un De Sceaux for the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday after ruling out Arkle winner Douvan.
The unbeaten Douvan held an entry in the race but Mullins elected against declaring him having been less than enthused with his work at home.
The Closutton trainer said he felt it would be asking a lot of Douvan to pitch him into Grade One company against proven performers on his first start of the season.
The Rich Ricci-owned six-year-old is now set to begin in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork next weekend.
“It was an easy enough decision to make, it was probably Un De Sceaux all the time as he’s used to travelling to France and the UK, while Douvan is only a novice going into Grade One company against horses who are well used to running in Grade Ones,” Mullins told At The Races.
“I had him (Douvan) in the race, but unless he was really sparkling I wasn’t going to send him and when I worked him he didn’t do enough for me for a big test like that, it’s early enough in the season.”
Un De Sceaux will face five rivals in the two-mile Sandown contest, with two-time former winner Sire De Grugy being joined his Gary Moore-trained stablemate Ar Mad.
Tom George is also doubled-handed with God’s Own and Haldon Gold Cup winner Sir Valentino in the mix while champion trainer Paul Nicholls looks to Vibrato Valtat to provide him with a 10th Tingle Creek success.
Un De Sceaux is 2.50 to win the Tingle Creek, while Ar Mad is 4.00 and veteran Sire De Grugy is 4.00.