Popular racehorse Sprinter Sacre will not be at Cheltenham next month to defend his Champion Chase title.

The 8-year-old was ruled out by trainer Nicky Henderson yesterday (Sunday 23 February) as the horse was “not showing the same brilliance as he did last season”.

“It’s terribly disappointing but the right thing to do,” added Nicky. Sprinter Sacre will now be rested before hopefully returning next season.

Sprinter Sacre won the Queen Mother Champion Chase by 19 lengths at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.

He had won 10 chases in a row before being pulled up at Kempton on 27 December due to an irregular heartbeat, which has since corrected itself.

Nicky said the horse will also go to Newmarket for a full “MOT” with vet expert Celia Marr.