Legendary chaser Sprinter Sacre will return to the Cheltenham Festival this year to parade for his many fans.
Described by trainer Nicky Henderson as “the horse of an absolute lifetime”, he won 18 of his 24 starts, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2013 and 2016.
He was officially retired from racing at Cheltenham’s November meeting in 2016 and now lives in the Cotswolds with Vicki Roberts.
Vicki said the 13-year-old is “in great form”.
“[He] is learning to adjust to a different way of life, without the regimental regime of being in training,” she said.
“He will do other things in the future — at the moment his body is able to do other things, but he is still very hot-headed.”
Vicki, who has been involved in racing all her life, will be accompanying the superstar to Cheltenham on Ladies’ Day (Wednesday, 13 March).
“Not many people would have a horse like Sprinter Sacre to parade and I know it will be all eyes on him at 12.45pm, so I do get a few butterflies in the stomach when I think about it,” she added.
“He is one of 14 horses I have here — I also look after horses, for other trainers, who are on box rest and recovering from knocks or wind operations.
“Sprinter looks really well and it will be great for him to see his fans at the Festival — he really knows how special he is.”
One of the greatest National Hunt horses ever, his Timeform rating of 192 was behind only Arkle and Flyingbolt.
He earned more than £1.1 million in prize money in a career that spanned seven seasons.
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Yesterday (13 November 2016) Nicky Henderson announced the dual Champion Chase winner Sprinter Sacre's retirement. As we celebrate the National
‘I had a think about it – and I can never resist a challenge!’
The French-bred son of Network was unbeaten in 10 consecutive starts over fences, including seven Grade One and two Grade Two victories.
A heart problem was diagnosed after he was pulled up at Kempton in December 2013, following his stellar winning streak.
He made a comeback in April 2015 and that autumn proved he was back to his best, winning November’s Grade Two Shloer Chase at Cheltenham by 14 lengths, the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton the following month and claiming his second Queen Mother Champion Chase in March 2016.
His final start came in the Grade One Celebration Chase at Sandown in 2016, where he stormed to victory 15 lengths ahead of Un De Sceaux.
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