Cheltenham preview (14.10): Sprinter Sacre for Shloer Chase
David Metcalf | November 14, 2015
Sprinter Sacre looks well-teated on return to action in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham (14.10) and can take advantage to get back on the winning trail.
This Nicky Henderson trained gelding won his first 10 starts over fences in facile fashion, and looked one of the best 2m chasers seen for a long time when landing the 2013 running of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on the bridle by 19 lengths.
The nine-year-old went on to land Grade 1 contests at Aintree and Punchestown before suffering his first defeat over fences when pulled-up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December of the same year when found to be suffering with a heart problem.
It was then a long road back for Sprinter Sacre and, although below his brilliant best in three runs last season, he showed enough to suggest he can win a race of this nature.
Sprinter can respond round a course he loves
In particular, he ran a blinder first time up when chasing home Dodging Bullets in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot after 386 days on the sidelines.
Sprinter showed plenty of his old zest and travelled well for much of the race until being unable to find any extra in the latter stages to be beaten three lengths.
The winner went on to land the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and the form reads extremely well in the context of this contest.
Off an official rating of 167, Sprinter Sacre has 3lb and upwards on his rivals, yet receives weight from all bar one of them.
That makes this look a golden opportunity for Sprinter Sacre, and it may well be that first time up is the best time to catch him.
Somersby and Simply Ned in Sacre’s sights
Somersby has been a terrific servant over the years, and the Mick Channon trained veteran looks capable of running a big race on the pick of his form.
However, a bigger danger to Sprinter Sacre could be the Nicky Richards’ trained Simply Ned.
The eight-year-old finished runner-up in the race 12 months ago, and comes into this year’s renewal having posted a career-best effort to make a winning reappearance at Kelso.
Simply Ned gave away lumps of weight away all-round to score easily by three lengths, and looks the type who may well have even more to offer.
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Coral’s top tip: Sprinter Sacre is well-treated by race conditions and can make his class tell to make a winning return to action. Simply Ned is improving and a big danger.