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Sprinter Sacre heads 17 acceptors for Queen Mother Champion Chase

All the big guns stood their ground at the latest declaration stage for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but the red-hot favourite Sprinter Sacre will have to overcome two major stats if he is to successfully defend his crown.

The eight-year-old strolled home by 19 lengths 12 months ago, and is rated 22lb superior (203p) by Timeform to his nearest rival in the betting Sire De Grugy (181+).

However, he has not run since being pulled-up with an irregular heartbeat in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27th last year, and the last 11 winners of the Queen Mother had all won in the same calendar year.

Also, discounting last year when Finian’s Rainbow didn’t line-up, 11 out of the previous 12 title holders have been beaten.

Those are not good stats, and he will also have to come through a racecourse gallop at Kempton on February 22(nd) before being confirmed a definite for the Queen Mother, for which he is the current 4/5 favourite with Coral.

By stark contrast the Gary Moore-trained Sire De Grugy has been in rude health this season.

He won the Desert Orchid Chase and has also recorded Grade 1 victories this season in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

The Tingle Creek has proved to be a key trial for the Queen Mother, with eight of the last 13 winners having ran in it.

The eight-year-old, who unlike Sprinter Sacre meets the criteria of having a run under his belt this year, could also head to Kempton on February 22nd for a racecourse gallop.

Moore said: “Kempton have very kindly offered us the opportunity to work at the track and it might be the best option with the way the ground is.

“It’s so far, so good with the horse. A lot can happen between now and next month, but at the moment. I’m very happy with him.”

Sire De Grugy is 11/4 with Coral for the Queen Mother.

The 17 acceptors for the race on Wednesday, March 12, are:

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer

343/1-132 AL FEROF (FR) 9 John Hales Paul Nicholls

1213P-4 ALDERWOOD (IRE) 10 J P McManus Tom Mullins IRE

FP1-1131 ARVIKA LIGEONNIERE (FR) 9 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE

452033 ASTRACAD (FR) 8 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies

32P4-2520 BAILY GREEN (IRE) 8 Adam Scott Mouse Morris IRE

411P-41 BENEFFICIENT (IRE) 8 A Shiels/Niall Reilly Tony Martin IRE

11151-3 CAPTAIN CONAN (FR) 7 Triermore Stud Nicky Henderson

222(2)-11 HINTERLAND (FR) 6 Chris Giles Paul Nicholls

4520-10 KID CASSIDY (IRE) 8 J P McManus Nicky Henderson

F114-241 MODULE (FR) 7 Simon Clarke Tom George

511-3430 SAVELLO (IRE) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Tony Martin IRE

11-12111 SIRE DE GRUGY (FR) 8 The Preston Family & Friends Ltd Gary Moore

122-124 SIZING EUROPE (IRE) 12 Ann & Alan Potts Partnership Henry de Bromhead IRE

2/34U-12U SOMERSBY (IRE) 10 Camilla Radford Mick Channon

2513-U34 SPECIAL TIARA 7 Mrs S Rowley-Williams Henry de Bromhead IRE

11111-P SPRINTER SACRE (FR) 8 Caroline Mould Nicky Henderson

133-6621 WISHFULL THINKING 11 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs