Sprinter Sacre’s comeback victory in the Tingle Creek Chase was one of sheer beauty, as he trounced a field that included the well-thought of Sanctuaire by 15 lengths, and the Nicky Henderson-trained phenomenon will look to repeat that facile victory at Cheltenham on Saturday in the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase, which has been rescheduled from Ascot.
Having elected to let the free-running Sanctuaire make the early fractions under Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty was always sitting comfortably on board Sprinter Sacre and he duly reeled in Paul Nicholls’ raider at halfway and pulled clear in the closing stages with consummate ease. Bookmakers are certainly running scared of the Seven Barrows wonder and the sponsors Bet Victor have installed him as a 1/5 favourite to bag the 2m 1f contest.
Unbeaten over fences, Sprinter Sacre has become the box office name of the national hunt scene and his cruising speed and class over the obstacles has seen him demolish some notable rivals and if he can reproduce the same performance on Saturday then he should cement his place at the head of the Queen Mother Champion Chase Betting, where he is already an odds-on shot to win at the Cheltenham Festival for the second time.
Sanctuaire’s front-running tactics certainly hindered his chances of finishing runner-up to Sprinter Sacre, but Nicholls has decided to let the Ditcheat inmate have another go at Henderson's hotpot and he is 6/1 second favourite with Bet Victor.
Passed by Kumbeshwar (33/1) in the run-in at Sandown Park, Sanctuaire was out on his feet, but he showed when storming to an impressive 13-length victory over Alan King’s rival in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park over the Christmas period that he oozes quality and he will be hoping for greater fortunes against Sprinter Sacre in another mouth-watering tussle.
Somersby was superb when getting the better of subsequent Champion Chaser Finian’s Rainbow in this race 12 months ago and he will look to retain his Grade One crown under the stewardship of Mick Channon. An 8/1 shot in the latest betting with Bet Victor, the former Henrietta Knight-trained nine-year-old will face a gargantuan task on his seasonal reappearance and can surely hope for a place finish in a race dominated by one horse.
William’s Wishes (12/1) has racked up a quintet of victories in a row and his two-length victory at Sandown Park at the beginning of the month showed he is still on an upward curve, but this is a major step up in class and Evan Williams will be hoping that he can sneak into the prize money for what is a valuable race.
Former Grand Annual winner Oiseau De Nuit (33/1) is the only other potential each-way contender for punters with the final trio of Esteem, Mad Moose and Kinkeel destined to fight it out at the back of a field dominated by the awesome Seven Barrows star.
1/5 Sprinter Sacre
12/1 William's Wishes
33/1 Oiseau De Nuit
100/1 Mad Moose
Odds supplied by BetVictor.com, who provide best price guaranteed on all UK & Irish horse racing.
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