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Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
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Grade 1, Cheltenham 15:30
£350,000 added,
5yo plus,
1m 7f 199y, Class 1  
Wednesday 16th March 2016

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1 Sprinter Sacre 5/1
2 Un De Sceaux 4/6F
3 Special Tiara 16/1
10 ran Distances: 3½l, nse, 5l
TIME 3m 48.90s (fast by 3.10s)

One of the greatest performances that Cheltenham has ever seen; Sprinter Sacre wins the Queen Mother Champion Chase under Nico De Boinville!

Sprinter Sacre
© Racehorse Photos

Sprinter Sacre

Sprinter Sacre ensured that there wasn't a dry eye in the house after he landed an emotional running of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon.

The 5/1 second favourite won this race in 2013 but had not been at his best since following well-documented problems with his heart but there had been signs in recent months that he was back to somewhere near championship winning form.

Given a cool ride by jockey Nico de Boinville, Sprinter Sacre tracked the leaders throughout and took up the running turning for home as both Un De Sceaux and Special Tiara began to weaken.

An awkward jump at the last didn't stop his momentum as he ran on up the hill to record a three and a half-length victory from 4/6 favourite Un De Sceaux.

His victory gave trainer Nicky Henderson his 55th Festival winner and his fourth winner of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. Henderson was understandably emotional following the race and struggled to hold back the tears as his stable star was given a hero's welcome back into the winners' enclosure.

"To come back and do that after all that time - it's incredible," said Henderson.

"The two years in the wilderness were dark days. It's right up there with one of my best achievements. I did say that if he and Tent (My Tent Or Yours who was second in the Stan James Champion Hurdle after two years off the track) won then I'd retire!

"He's been a very special horse. To have those two golden years when he was unbeaten was incredible - I always said I don't think he's got back there but maybe he has. He had to be as good as he was to do that today.

"There were days when we thought it was working and then when we didn't. Caroline (Mould - owner) has just been fantastic. I was never under any pressure at all so we could just do our own thing and if it didn't happen, it didn't happen. It's been well worth it though. Even the public and the press didn't put us under any pressure - no one was baying for his retirement or anything like that.

"There was always something there. This is completely different to where he was a couple of years ago though. Everybody at the yard has put it all together. He still lives in that funny old barn at the back of the yard in the dark - that's where he likes it. He doesn't want to be promoted to another. He likes his little corner and likes doing his own thing.

"He's just been so feisty all season. We knew he was a different horse this season when he came back in - he just looked so good. He didn't need another race after Kempton and we didn't even have a racecourse gallop with him. He's just so big now - I've been looking at him every night for the last three weeks and he's just so big.

"This is what we do it for. He is a treasure - of course he is. You can see from the reaction - he's quite popular!"

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BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase
£350,000 added, 5yo plus, 1m 7f 199y, Class 1
10 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Sprinter Sacre (FR) 5/1 Nico de Boinville
11-10
N J Henderson 10
2nd Un De Sceaux (FR) 4/6f R Walsh
11-10
W P Mullins 8
3rd nse Special Tiara 16/1 N D Fehily
11-10
H de Bromhead 9
4th 5 God's Own (IRE) 20/1 P J Brennan
11-10
T R George 8
5th 5 Somersby (IRE) 50/1 B Hughes
11-10
M R Channon 12
6th 9 Just Cameron 66/1 Joe Colliver
11-10
Micky Hammond 9
7th 4 Dodging Bullets 10/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
11-10
P F Nicholls 8
8th 40 Sire De Grugy (FR) 16/1 J E Moore
11-10
G L Moore 10
Also Ran: Felix Yonger (IRE) , Sizing Granite (IRE)

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SCEAUX GOOD, BUT SPRINTER STEALS THE SHOW

Nothing that happens at the remainder of this year's Cheltenham Festival will upstage the victory by returning champion Sprinter Sacre.

In the light of that, places for Un De Sceaux and Special Tiara behind the great old warrior were performances of notable merit. Un De Sceaux, the 4/6 favourite, was beaten three and a half lengths, and finished a nose in front of the 16/1 chance Special Tiara.

Ruby Walsh, who rode the favourite, said: "He just didn't have the speed on the ground," a view echoed by trainer Willie Mullins. He said: "To be beaten by Sprinter Sacre is no shame.

"It's very hard to bring a horse back in that way - it's hard to train them at home when they are carrying an injury [Sprinter Sacre was found to have an irregular heart beat after running poorly at Kempton in December 2013, and was pulled up in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase last year], so you are creeping and crawling all the time in a bid to get the horse fit with the least amount of hard work. It's a huge achievement.

"It shows you the good ones can come back.

"Un De Sceaux would have liked a bit more rain on the ground - that's all I can think. It seemed to be a very fast pace, and I believe he will want softer ground as he gets older. He's a horse that gives everything in his races, so there was nothing more Ruby could do. If this horse is unable to stay with one that has just come upsides him it means he has given everything."

Henry de Bromhead, Special Tiara's trainer, said: "I was delighted with him. He jumped brilliantly and galloped away, and Noel [Fehily] was very happy too. Special Tiara could go back to Sandown - he was very good there last year and we will be strongly considering it, but I wouldn't like to be definite. We'll see how he comes out of this. He lost very little in defeat.

"It was an exceptional training performance by Nicky to bring Sprinter Sacre back like that - I have great admiration for the horse and trainer."

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BetVictor 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

2015 Dodging Bullets 7-11-10 Sam Twiston-Davies Paul Nicholls Martin Broughton & Friends 9/2 9
2014 Sire De Grugy 8-11-10 Jamie Moore Gary Moore The Preston Family & Friends Ltd 11/4F 11
2013 Sprinter Sacre 7-11-10 Barry Geraghty N J Henderson 1/4 7
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

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