Friday 15 December 2017

Classy Willie Mullins pays tribute to Sprinter Sacre and Nicky Henderson

Willie Mullins has praised the connections of Sprinter Sacre
Willie Mullins has praised the connections of Sprinter Sacre

Willie Mullins, trainer of the vanquished favourite Un De Sceaux in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, has paid tribute to the connections of Sprinter Sacre.

Sprinter Sacre raised the roof by regaining his crown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Invincible when imperious in this race three years ago, Sprinter Sacre has had a succession of well-documented problems but has been brought back by his trainer Nicky Henderson to be the top two-miler again.

Sprinter Sacre (5-1) surged past a tame Un De Sceaux two out and pulled clear under Nico de Boinville to bring a packed house down at Prestbury Park.

Un De Sceaux, the 4-6 favourite, was still second best, beaten three and a half lengths behind the popular winner after being unable to dominate in his usual manner.

He said: "My first thought is maybe the ground was quick enough, but we've been beaten by Sprinter Sacre and there's certainly no shame in that.

"It's an unbelievable training performance by Nicky Henderson and who says they don't come back?

"Just listen to the crowd. I would say that's a winner for racing.

"He (Un De Sceaux) was closing again at the line and ran right up to it, so he may have run his race.

"I imagine he'll go to Punchestown."

Special Tiara's trainer Henry de Bromhead said: "I'm delighted with him.

"It was an exceptional training performance by Nicky Henderson to get his horse back like that.

"I've got great admiration for horse and trainer. It's unbelievable how they've brought him back to put in a performance like that, he was awesome.

"Special Tiara was very good at Sandown last year (in Celebration Chase), so we'll certainly consider it.

"At the moment we'll get over this and digest everything, but we're delighted with our guy - he lost very little in defeat and fair play to connections of the winner."

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