Sprinter Sacre delighted racing fans yesterday (Sunday, 15 November), winning his comeback race at Cheltenham by 14 lengths.
The nine-year-old gelding won the Shloer Chase — his first win since April 2013.
“If he was ever going to do it again, today had to be the day,” said trainer Nicky Henderson after the race.
“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.
“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.”
The winner of the 2013 Champion Chase at Cheltenham had won 10 chases in a row before being pulled up by Barry Geraghty on 27 December 2013. The horse was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, which since corrected itself.
Last season he ran four times, and was pulled up twice and finished second on two occasions. This was his first start of the new campaign.
It was a first win aboard the “black aeroplane” for jockey Nico de Boinville, who rides the horse at home at Nicky Henderson’s yard.
Thanks to Barry Geraghty picking up the plum job of JP McManus’ retained rider since AP McCoy’s retirement, Nico took the ride on the track.
“I’m almost speechless,” he said. “For me, that’s quite emotional really; we go back a long way and to see him come back like that and to be able to ride him.”
The pair hit the front four out to win from Somersby. The Dan Skelton-trained Savello was third.
Sprinter Sacre could now head to the Tingle Creek at Sandown on 5 December.
Picture by Racingfotos.com