Barry Geraghty believes Sprinter Sacre is one of the best horses he has ever ridden after his keynote victory over Peddlers Cross in the Novices' Chase at Kempton.
NICKY HENDERSON also holds the five-year-old in the highest regard, and it was easy to see why following the gelding's 16-length defeat of odds-on favourite Peddlers Cross.
The ball quickly went into Sprinter Sacre's court when his rival belted the first. Geraghty then found himself in front and elected to press on, often getting some spectacular leaps from the free-going Sprinter Sacre. But, equally, the 11/10 winner was very good when getting in close, as he showed when jumping the final fence off his hocks.
Geraghty said: "He was all wrong at the last but was clever at it. He jumped from fence to fence and is a horse that gets your blood up. He's got the right combination of pace and respect for his fences. He's one of the best I've ever sat on -- he is frighteningly good."
Henderson, who will give Sprinter Sacre one more outing before the Arkle, for which he is now at 2/1, said: "As Barry said, he's frighteningly good. We've jumped the first and he (Peddlers Cross) hasn't. We've gone from Plan A to Plan B."
Donald McCain is now considering whether to step Peddlers Cross up in trip.
He said: "We have to consider stepping up in trip. He won over two-five as a novice at Cheltenham, and two miles around here was sharp enough."
The Henderson-trained Finian's Rainbow later pulled the williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase from out of the fire in the final strides. Sent off the 4/11 favourite on the strength of his second place in the Arkle and a win at Aintree in the spring, the Seven Barrows inmate set a steady early pace before nearly falling four from home once the pace rose.
That looked to have cost him the race as Oiseau De Nuit was left in front, but Geraghty Finian's Rainbow responded.
Wishfull Thinking appeared to have the race in the bag as he hit the front 100 yards from the line, but Henderson's youngster flew after a big leap at the last and won by three-quarters of a length.
Henderson said: "The aim of this race was to get him ready for the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot next month."
Henderson also dominated the Download williamhill.com On Your Mobile Handicap Hurdle to round off the card with a superb treble as the Geraghty-ridden Lifestyle (5/1) beat Higgy's Ragazzo by three-quarters of a length.