Sprinter Sacre bypasses Tingle Creek in favour of Kempton on December 27


A statue of Desert Orchid near the parade ring at Kempton Park.

By Simon Jackson.

Sprinter Sacre will bypass the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on Saturday and instead contest the williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park on December 27.

The nine-year-old impressed at his comeback race of the season when easing to a 14-length victory in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in mid-November.

The victory was the dual Cheltenham Festival winner’s first since scoring at Punchestown in 2013 and he looked good as he travelled close to the pace for Nico de Boinville, before taking it up four fences from home to win comfortably.

The Nicky Henderson-trained winner of the 2012 Arkle and 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase was side-lined in December 2013 after suffering a heart scare and had failed to win in three starts after the set-back, before scoring at Cheltenham.

The Caroline Mould-owned gelding is reported to have come out of the race well and Henderson said today (Monday) that Sprinter Sacre is in ‘really good form’, when outlining his immediate targets.

“We’re not going to go to the Tingle Creek with Sprinter Sacre. I talked to Caroline Mould over the weekend,” said Henderson who could still be represented by Simonsig and Josses Hill in the £150,000 Tingle Creek Chase that has attracted 10 entries.

“He’s in really, really good form but, having got him into good shape and the right place, he just doesn’t need another race at the moment and it’s as simple as that. Simonsig and Josses Hill will be in there and they are both in the Peterborough at Huntingdon as well on Sunday so we’ll see what we do.

“With Sprinter the Desert Orchid at Kempton is the likely place for him and if he needs another run before Cheltenham, fine. The Shloer was only three weeks ago and he’s come out of it really well.

“It would be a hard race if [Tingle Creek favourite] Un De Sceaux ran and a hard race in soft ground is not what we want on top of a really good run like that,” Henderson said on his StanJames.com blog.

“We don’t need to run him again. We’re not going to learn anything! But he looks fantastic – he looked great coming into the race and he looks fantastic coming out of it.”

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.