Tuesday 27 September 2016

Sprinter shows old sparkle to take honours

Nick Robson

Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30

Sprinter Sacre ridden by Nico de Boinville clears the last before winning the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham
Sprinter Sacre ridden by Nico de Boinville clears the last before winning the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham

Sprinter Sacre announced his return to form in emphatic fashion yesterday when claiming the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.

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With doubts as to whether the nine-year-old would ever again be the majestic performer he was when he dominated the two-mile division, the 2013 Champion Chase hero looked back to a level somewhere near his best, destroying his rivals in the hands of the assured Nico De Boinville.

Mr Mole took the field along until giving way to the well-backed 15/8 favourite at the fourth-last. With his rivals feeling the pressure, Sprinter Sacre continued to turn the screw, opening up a clear lead on the run to the second-last.

Although flicking through the top of the penultimate obstacle it failed to halt the momentum of Nicky Henderson's charge as he bounded on to the final fence. Clearing it decisively, the hugely-popular chaser stormed up the hill to claim an emotional 14-length success from Somersby.

Meanwhile, young rider Harry Cobden stole the headlines in the Greatwood Hurdle as Old Guard (12/1) gave the 17-year-old a winner to remember.

Cobden showed considerable patience as he steered the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding into contention before leading on the run-in to win by two lengths from Superb Story with Noel Meade's Waxie's Dargle back in third.

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