Sprinter Sacre out to join the ranks of two-time Champion Chasers
Cheltenham 2014 tips won’t come much more blindingly obvious than Sprinter Sacre, the gelding who has taken the 2m chasing division by storm over the last two seasons.
Victory in the Punchestown Champion Chase on his final start of the 2012/13 campaign took the gelding’s consecutive win tally over fences to 10 races and completed a historic treble in the process.
In coming home five-and-a-half-lengths clear of Sizing Europe on his first trip to Ireland, Nicky Henderson’s stable star completed a spring festival win triptych last seen when the phenomenal hurdler Istabraq racked up victories at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown in 1999.
Much as was the case in 2013, analysis of the runes for the 2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham centres around the question of which gluttons for punishment will be bold enough to take Spinter Sacre on.
Last term Sizing Europe bit the bullet, while Cue Card swerved him for the less daunting Ryanair Chase.
This term the only novice seemingly capable of posing Sprinter Sacre a question – namely stablemate Simonsig – may well be routed elsewhere, with the Ryanair Chase a winnable alternative.
As a result it seems there will be few to rival him in the Cheltenham 2014 odds as he bids to record a second successive Queen Mother Champion Chase win.
Such a feat has been achieved by nine other speedy fencers down the generations, although Master Minded is the only one to have done so since Viking Flagship 17 years ago.
Nonetheless Sprinter Sacre has a few miles of track ahead him if he is to reach the kind of singular heights his unique talent suggests he is capable of, with Michael Dickinson’s Badsworth Boy the sole three-time-consecutive victor in the race’s history.