Friday 23 February 2018

Sacre may bid for Champion repeat without another outing

Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Keith Hamer

Sprinter Sacre could bid to regain his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown without another run following his fine victory at Kempton on Sunday.

With the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 23 and the Betfair Price Rush Chase at Newbury on February 13 as the only serious races for the brilliant two-miler before the Cheltenham Festival, trainer Nicky Henderson has to consider that option.

"They are only two races for him really before Cheltenham, the Clarence House and the Game Spirit (Betfair Price Rush Chase), so it's possible he might go to Cheltenham without another run," said the Seven Barrows trainer.

"The Clarence House will come too soon, so I don't think we'll need to go there. He could go to the Game Spirit or he could go straight to Cheltenham. I don't know."

Henderson reports Sprinter Sacre, winner of the Champion Chase in 2013, to be in good form after his triumphant struggle over Sire De Grugy in an epic renewal of the Desert Orchid Chase.

Aidan Coleman brought up his 100th winner of the season when Tara Flow struck in the Leicestershire Bronze Fox Handicap Hurdle at Leicester yesterday.

Sent off the 9/4 favourite, the Venetia Williams-trained mare had little trouble in maintaining her unbeaten record over timber, sauntering to a 12-length win.


Coleman has been provided with a large share of his winners by John Ferguson, but that partnership will draw to a close at the end of this season as the Newmarket handler will take up a new role with Godolphin.

Meanwhile, tomorrow's jumps fixture at Haydock must pass a precautionary inspection at 7am on raceday morning. Officials at the Merseyside circuit were happy with conditions following an inspection yesterday afternoon - even in spite of 60 millimetres of rain having fallen since Christmas Day.

On the Flat, Richard Fahey equalled Richard Hannon snr's record of 235 winners in a calendar year thanks to a Lingfield double through Gabrial The Hero and Luis Vaz De Torres. Luis Vaz De Torres (5/1) secured that landmark win in the Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Handicap.

The three-year-old was ridden by Tony Hamilton, who had chalked up 100 winners for in a season for the first time when successful on Gabrial The Hero in the two-mile Handicap.

Fahey said: "Tony's reached 100 winners, so it's a good day for everybody. It would be great if we could beat the record."

Fahey has three runners at Southwell today as he goes in pursuit of the outright mark.

Jockey Pat Cosgrave also sealed his first century when steering home 20/1 shot Storm Ahead in the Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

Irish Independent

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