Wednesday 22 November 2017

Sanctuaire on target for Sprinter showdown

Thomas Kelly

Big guns Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuaire feature among 10 entries for the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday after the Grade One contest was reopened.

The two brilliant two-milers will put their 100pc records over fences on the line in an eagerly awaited clash.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Sprinter Sacre was a superb winner of the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham, while Sanctuaire has yet to put a foot wrong since switched to the bigger obstacles and Paul Nicholls reports that his charge is primed for the task.

The champion trainer has also entered Doeslessthanme and Henderson has a second string in French Opera. The numbers are made up by Escort'men, Gracchus, Idarah, Kinkeel, Kumbeshwar and His Excellency.

Countrywide Flame looks set for a trip across the Irish Sea to contest Leopardstown's Istabraq Festival Hurdle later this month. John Quinn's Triumph Hurdle hero (right) made a perfect start to his career outside novice company when sluicing up in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

Willie Mullins' former Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly heads the 19 entries, while last season's leading British novices Darlan and Cinders And Ashes, whose stablemate Peddlers Cross has also been put in the event by Donald McCain, are also engaged.

Last year's winner Unaccompanied is one of three possibles for Dermot Weld.

Gordon Elliott has confirmed Don Cossack on course for his first Grade One assignment in the Navan Novice Hurdle on Sunday week.

The five-year-old impressed when winning each of his three bumpers in Ireland last season and got his career over obstacles off to the perfect start when winning comfortably at Navan last month. Elliott has given his stable star an entry in the Meath Novice Hurdle at the same track on Saturday, but is likely to wait another week.

Elsewhere, Graham Lee capped an incredible start to the first year of his reinvention as a Flat jockey by riding his 100th winner of 2012 at Wolverhampton.

Following a series of injuries sustained as a jumps jockey, the 36-year-old Grand National-winning rider decided to try his hand on the level in the spring and picked up 87 victories to finish eighth in the jockeys' championship.

Lee has continued to ply his trade on the all-weather during the winter and rattled off the century by bringing the Jeremy Noseda-trained favourite Prophets Pride home in the auction maiden.

Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori expects to learn today what his punishment will be for failing a drugs test in France in September. 'France Galop' has concluded its inquiry into Dettori's case, with the rider's legal team saying he had received "a sympathetic hearing".

The 41-year-old jockey could be handed a six-month ban after testing positive for a banned substance at Longchamp.

Dettori's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, was in Paris for the hearing, but will not comment on the case until France Galop have published their decision.

Irish Independent

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