Sacre can sprint to success in Clarence House Chase
Sprinter Sacre makes his eagerly awaited return to action in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday (3.00) and can make his class tell to make it a winning one.
The 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 has been a long road back for the brilliant chaser, but after numerous tests and a recent schooling session at Newbury his handler believes he is now ready to roll again.
Off an official rating of 188, Sprinter Sacre has 23lbs and upwards in hand of his rivals and if all is well would win this with the minimum of fuss.
An absence of 386-days has to be a slight concern, and Sprinter is unlikely to be given a hard race before hopefully lining up for the Queen Mother at Cheltenham on Wednesday, March 11th.
However, he could run well below his best and still win based on the ratings and I find him impossible to oppose.
Coral currently make Sprinter their 7/4 favourite for the Queen Mother, and if he does win I would expect him to go odds-on for the 2m contest.
Should Sprinter under perform then Dodging Bullets looks the obvious one to take advantage.
The Paul Nicholls trained seven-year-old was a smart novice last season and took his form to a new level when landing a first success in Grade 1 company last time out in the Tingle Creek at Sandown.
Dodging Bullets stayed on strongly in testing conditions to beat a useful yardtsick in Somersby by 2 1/2 lengths, and it was a success which saw him given a rating of 165.
That is respectable, but is still a massive 23lb below that of Sprinter Sacre.
It also wasn’t the strongest renewal of the Tingle Creek and Dodging Bullets will have to step up again if he is to land the spoils.
There is every possibility that there could be more to come, but in terms of class he has it all to do to beat an on-song Sprinter Sacre.