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Sprinter Sacre speeds back to best

By Graham Clark

Volume levels were at maximum as Sprinter Sacre announced his return to form in emphatic fashion when making a triumphant visit to a winner's enclosure he has enjoyed many magical moments in during his career after claiming the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.

With doubts as to whether the nine-year-old would ever again be the majestic performer he was when he dominated the two-mile division, the 2013 Champion Chase winner truly looked back to a level somewhere near his best, destroying his rivals in the Grade Two prize.

Although his last visit to Prestbury Park ended with him pulling up in March, the chances of a similar happening were remote from an early stage, with new pilot Nico de Boinville exuding confidence aboard the seven-times Grade One winner.

Mr Mole led until giving way to the well-backed 15-8 favourite over the fourth-last, in what was to be a race-winning move.

With his rivals all feeling the pressure, Sprinter Sacre continued to turn the screw, just as he did in both his Arkle and Queen Mother successes, opening up a sizeable advantage on the run down to the second-last.

Although flicking through the top of the penultimate fence it failed to halt the momentum of Nicky Henderson's pride and joy as he bounded on in imperious fashion to the final fence.

Clearing it decisively, the hugely-popular chaser stormed up the hill helped by the roar of more than 15,000 spectators to further widen his gap and claim an emotional 14-length success from Somersby.

Sprinter Sacre was cut from 16-1 to 6-1 for the Champion Chase by race sponsors Betway, while both William Hill and Paddy Power trimmed him from 14-1 and 16-1 respectively into 3-1 for the same race. RaceBets went 5-1 from 14-1.

Henderson said: "Everybody has done brilliantly. We've been happy with him and we are getting there. He just looks so different, his whole demeanour is completely different."

Belfast Telegraph


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