Today he stepped up to his biggest test in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase and sauntered through it with ease, demolishing the best two-miler in Ireland, the former race-winner Sizing Europe, and barely breaking sweat. Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Caroline Mould, Sprinter Sacre carried jockey Barry Geraghty to a 19-length victory over the Irish challenger, who was six lengths clear of third-placed Wishfull Thinking.
A near-breathless Henderson said: "You always hope for the best, but there are fences to jump and you can never be sure. He has such an easy way of doing it and today he was fantastic. He loves racing and he does it so easily.
"We're very lucky to have him. Sometimes the crowd gets something special to watch and I hope today they have enjoyed watching him - although I don't know if I did!
"He has an aura about him and he knows he's good. He doesn't hide it under a bushel - he doesn't do anything by halves. It's the way he lives. Barry enjoys it, the horse enjoys it and I hate it, but it's fun afterwards.
"He's nearly the perfect racehorse. He looks it and it's rare to find one that looks so good and is so good. You would have to say that's his best performance. We were well aware that anything bar very stunning wouldn't keep people happy, but that was stunning. He was nicely relaxed, maybe a little keen early on. He didn't want to take on Sizing Europe too early, but there wasn't much Barry could do about it, and I've always said don't disappoint him if he takes you there. Don't take him back because that cruising speed is so high.
"We'll keep the earplugs on him because he's getting so much attention now and he just needs to concentrate on what he's doing.
"We've talked about Punchestown, but we'll see. He's only had three races this season because that's more or less what the race programme dictates to you. There's a nice Grade One at Punchestown and that's possible and then he could have a summer off and come back and defend his title."
Bloodstock agent David Minton bought Sprinter Sacre as part of a €300,000 dispersal of horses in France. He said: "I had no idea there was a star among them. They were a good, level bunch, but he's easily the best. I bought Remittance Man [a Racing Post Arkle Chase and Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase winner] but this horse must now be regarded as the best I have bought. We might not have seen the best of him yet.
"It's great for Nicky Henderson, but he is the greatest trainer at Cheltenham and he's so right for this horse because he's so patient. It's a lovely story and great for Caroline and her husband Raymond."
LIKE PELE, SPRINTER IS A TALENT APART
As far as Barry Geraghty is concerned, Sprinter Sacre, winner of the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase by 19 lengths, owns the same qualities of excellence that set top-class human sportsmen apart from the rest.
"I've never ridden a horse that does it all so easily," he said of the seven-year-old. "He has such power and scope, and that gives him the time he needs. He's like a top footballer, like Pele on the ball, who used to do it all easily because his speed and power and skill gave him the time to do it.
"He made a mistake at the ditch, the first he's ever made, but he knew what he was doing and it wasn't really a mistake. He was long into it, really long, and he put down on me, but off that ground he was telling me that was the thing to do. And he absolutely winged the next, and winged the last."
Geraghty has been the partner of the two outstanding two-mile chasers of the modern era, Moscow Flyer being the other. "I'm not saying this lad is better than Moscow Flyer, but the ease with which he does everything sets him apart."
Sprinter Sacre carries the colours of Caroline Mould, who admitted that watching her champion brings a certain amount of stress, even if pleasurable stress.
"If it doesn't sound too arrogant," she said, "last year when he won the Arkle Trophy it was ok because we were pretty confident he'd win that, and he wasn't really in the public eye. But this time it's been completely different. Sleepless nights, dry mouth, beating heart, grinding teeth, the lot. Everyone says I should enjoy him and moments like today, and I am. But I'm always relieved when it's all over and I can enjoy it properly."
Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase £350,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m, Class 1
7 ran Going: Good to soft, soft in places
Trainer Henry de Bromhead was in a reflective mood after 6/1 second-favourite Sizing Europe was beaten nineteen lengths into second place by the brilliant Sprinter Sacre in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The 2011 Champion Chaser went toe-to-toe with the eventual winner for the majority of the race and seemed to stumble as the field crossed the road coming down the hill but his trainer conceded that the race was probably over when this mishap occurred.
"We've had a go and served it up to him but have come out of it second-best," said de Bromhead.
"The chippings seem quite loose on that covered road and he seemed to stumble on the crossing but the race was over at that point and it's had no effect on the result. The winner is a phenomenal horse but we're proud of our man too - we've still finished second in a Champion Chase.
"Sizing Europe has been the horse of a lifetime for me and I've had many unforgettable moments with him. He's not getting any younger but he's won plenty this season and it's likely we'll head to the Punchestown Festival with him. We know he gets a bit further so we always have that option with him but he's still got plenty of speed for a horse his age."
Third-placed Wishfull Thinking was six lengths behind Sizing Europe in third and trainer Philip Hobbs was quick to praise the winner.
"He's run a perfectly respectable race but we couldn't get anywhere near Sprinter Sacre," said Hobbs.
"The winner is an incredible horse and it was a pleasure watching him."
sportingbet.com QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE ROLL OF HONOUR
(Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase since 2007, Queen Mother Champion Chase 1980-2006, previously National Hunt Two Mile Champion Chase from when first run in 1959)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
2012 Finian's Rainbow 9-11-10 Barry Geraghty N J Henderson 4/1 6 2011 Sizing Europe 9-11-10 Andrew Lynch Henry de Bromhead IRE Ann & Alan Potts 10/1 11 2010 Big Zeb 9-11-10 Barry Geraghty Colm Murphy IRE Pat Redmond 10/1 9 2009 Master Minded 6-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive Smith 4/11F 12 2008 Master Minded 5-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive Smith 3/1 8 2007 Voy Por Ustedes 6-11-10 Robert Thornton Alan King Sir Robert Ogden 5/1 10 2006 Newmill 8-11-10 Andrew McNamara John Murphy IRE Mary Hayes 16/1 12 2005 Moscow Flyer 11-11-10 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington IRE Brian Kearney 6/4F 8
2004 Azertyuiop 7-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls John Hales 15/8 8
2003 Moscow Flyer 9-12-00 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington IRE Brian Kearney 7/4F 11
2002 Flagship Uberalles 8-12-00 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs Elizabeth Gutner/Michael Krysztofiak 7/4F 12
2001 No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000 Edredon Bleu 8-12-00 Tony McCoy Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis 7/2 9
1999 Call Equiname 9-12-00 Mick Fitzgerald Paul Nicholls Mick Coburn,Paul Barber,Colin Lewis 7/2 13
1998 One Man 10-12-00 Brian Harding Gordon Richards John Hales 7/2 8
1997 Martha’s Son 10-12-00 Rodney Farrant Tim Forster Paddy Hartigan/Michael Ward-Thomas 9/1 6
1996 Klairon Davis 7-12-00 Francis Woods Arthur Moore IRE Chris Jones 9/1 7
1995 Viking Flagship 8-12-00 Charlie Swan David Nicholson Roach Foods Ltd 5/2F 10
1994 Viking Flagship 7-12-00 Adrian Maguire David Nicholson Roach Foods Ltd 4/1 8
1993 Deep Sensation 8-12-00 Declan Murphy Josh Gifford Robin Eliot 11/1 9
1992 Remittance Man 8-12-00 Jamie Osborne Nicky Henderson Jim Collins Evs F 6
1991 Katabatic 8-12-00 Simon McNeill Andrew Turnell Pell-Mell Partners 9/1 7
1990 Barnbrook Again 9-12-00 Hywel Davies David Elsworth Mel Davies 11/10F 9
1989 Barnbrook Again 8-12-00 Simon Sherwood David Elsworth Mel Davies 7/4F 8
1988 Pearlyman 9-12-00 Tom Morgan John Edwards Valerie Shaw 15/8F 8
1987 Pearlyman 8-12-00 Peter Scudamore John Edwards Valerie Shaw 13/8F 8
1986 Buck House 8-12-00 Tommy Carmody Mouse Morris IRE Mrs Phil Purcell 5/2 11
1985 Badsworth Boy 10-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Monica Dickinson Doug Armitage 11/8 5
1984 Badsworth Boy 9-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Doug Armitage 8/13F 10
1983 Badsworth Boy 8-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Doug Armitage 2/1 6
1982 Rathgorman 10-12-00 Kevin Whyte Michael Dickinson J Lilley 100/30 9
1981 Drumgora 9-12-00 Frank Berry Arthur Moore IRE D Monahan 25/1 9
1980 *Another Dolly 10-12-00 Sam Morshead Fred Rimell Ian Urquhart 33/1 7
1979 Hilly Way 9-12-00 Mr Ted Walsh Peter McCreery IRE J W Sweeney 7/1 9
1978 Hilly Way 8-12-00 Tommy Carmody Peter McCreery IRE J W Sweeney 7/1 10
1977 Skymas 12-12-00 Mouse Morris Brian Lusk IRE Mathew Magee 7/2 8
1976 Skymas 11-12-00 Mouse Morris Brian Lusk IRE Mathew Magee 8/1 7
1975 Lough Inagh 8-12-00 Sean Barker Jim Dreaper IRE A Martin 100/30 8
1974 Royal Relief 10-12-00 Bill Smith Edward Courage Edward Courage 6/1 6
1973 Inkslinger 6-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE Mrs M Jenney 6/1 6
1972 Royal Relief 8-12-00 Bill Smith Edward Courage Edward Courage 15/8 5
1971 Crisp 8-12-00 Paul Kelleway Fred Winter Sir Chester Manifold 3/1 8
1970 Straight Fort 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 7/4F 6
1969 Muir 10-12-00 Ben Hannon Tom Dreaper IRE Waring Willis 15/2 11
1968 Drinny’s Double 10-12-00 Frank Nash Bob Turnell Paul Mellon 6/1 5
1967 Drinny’s Double 9-12-00 Frank Nash Bob Turnell Paul Mellon 7/2 8
1966 Flyingbolt 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Mrs Jean Wilkinson 1/5F 6
1965 Dunkirk 8-12-00 Dave Dick Peter Cazalet Bill Whitbread 8/1 6
1964 Ben Stack 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 2/1 5
1963 Sandy Abbot 8-12-00 Stan Mellor George Owen Mrs J D McKechnie 5/1 5
1962 Piperton 8-12-00 Dave Dick Archie Thomlinson Archie Thomlinson 100/6 7
1961 Fortria 9-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 2/5F 5
1960 Fortria 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 15/8F 7
1959 Quita Que 10-12-00 Bunny Cox Dan Moore IRE Mrs D R Brand 4/9F 9
*Another Dolly finished second to Chinrullah, who was subsequently disqualified after failing a post-race urine test