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Sprinter Sacre to light up Kempton in Desert Orchid Chase

Sprinter Sacre is the highest rated steeplechaser in training and is set to make his long awaited reappearance in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton. The seven-year-old has not been seen since winning the Punchestown Champion Chase in April.

A minor setback forced Henderson to withdraw Sprinter Sacre from his intended first start of the season in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. In his absence, the race went to the progressive Sire De Grugy who looks to be his most dangerous opponent on Friday.

Sprinter Sacre won the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase over course and distance at this meeting in 2011 and has since gone on to establish himself as the leading chaser in Britain. He won the Arkle Trophy in spectacular style in 2012 and claimed the Champion Chase with similar ease this spring.

He followed up by dishing out a similar thrashing to Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card over two and a half miles at Aintree. Henderson has resisted the temptation to move his stable star up to three miles this season and the Champion Chase is again his main objective.

Sire De Grugy put up a fine performance to win the Tingle Creek by four lengths from Somersby with Captain Conan a further three and a quarter lengths away in third. Trainer Gary Moore believes that the chestnut would have been even more impressive on softer ground and expects a bold run from him here.

Even his Tingle Creek form still leaves him more than a stone below Sprinter Sacre on official ratings but he looks the most likely to take advantage of any lack of fitness in the favourite. Paul Nicholls relies on Fago who jumped particularly well when winning at Haydock last time.

That marked a big improvement on a poor seasonal debut at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup. He handles soft ground well and could show up well for a long way here.

Oiseau De Nuit is best in at the weights of the other three runners and should claim minor prize money ahead of Astracad and Tataniano.