|Listed, Cheltenham 14:10
1m 7f 199y, Class 1
|Sunday 15th November 2015|
1 Sprinter Sacre 15/8F
2 Somersby 5/1
3 Savello 8/1
6 ran Distances: 14l, 2½l, 6l
TIME 3m 58.50s (slow by 6.50s)
Sprinter Sacre wins by a massive distance! Is he back? Dare we say it...
"It had to happen today or the doubters would have been winning the argument" - Nicky Henderson
Sprinter Sacre bounced back to somewhere near his very best when running out the commanding winner of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon.
The 15/8 favourite travelled and jumped sweetly under jockey Nico De Boinville and cruised into the lead as the field came down the hill. His rivals had no answer to this acceleration and the nine-year-old bounded away to record a 14 length success over runner-up Somersby.
The winner was welcomed back into the winners' enclosure to a reception usually reserved for a winner at The Festival and the racing public were clearly delighted that one of National Hunt racing's stars was back in the winning groove.
Trainer Nicky Henderson looked relieved after the race and admitted that the nine-year-old had to win today if he was to repay the faith that his entire yard had in his ability to win again.
"If he was ever going to do it again, today had to be the day," said the trainer.
"We're getting there with him. We have been happy with him and he just looks so different from last year. His whole demeanour has changed. His jumping was so good. I said to Nico that if he takes you to the front, you have to let him do it. Nico probably didn't want to get to the front so early but you just have to let him get on with it.
"You know what he's like - you've seen him do it before and he wanted to do it today. He's taken us to some amazing places over the years and probably today was one of the toughest ones. It had to happen today otherwise people would stop believing. He's had his doubters - even I've been one at times - but he's nearly back to where we want him.
"We were hopeful today and he enjoyed himself. He's entitled to come on for it but we were just desperate to get that run into him as he was ready to run. I don't think he's ever frightened me as much as he did today though.
"Everybody has worked very hard on him. We've had problems with him obviously but a lot of people have worked hard to get him to where he is today. Caroline (Mould - owner) has been brilliant and sadly Raymond (Caroline Mould's late husband) isn't with us today but hopefully he would have approved of today's performance. We all miss him.
"I'm not sure where we'll see him next - we'll have to see how he comes out of this. The Tingle Creek could well be an option."
£75,000 added, 5yo plus, 1m 7f 199y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Sprinter Sacre (FR) 15/8f||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson||9|
|2nd||14||Somersby (IRE) 5/1||B Hughes
|M R Channon||11|
|3rd||2½||Savello (IRE) 8/1||Harry Skelton
|4th||6||Simply Ned (IRE) 3/1||B P Harding
|N G Richards||8|
|5th||3¼||Mr Mole (IRE) 6/1||B J Geraghty
|P F Nicholls||7|
|6th||12||Croco Bay (IRE) 12/1||Kielan Woods
|B I Case||8|