Nicky Henderson made it clear after Sprinter Sacre’s amazing win at Aintree earlier in the month that it would be nice for Irish racegoers to see the mighty horse in action, and the green light has now been given for the brilliant Cheltenham Festival winner to make his first trip overseas.
Fabulous as it will be for racing live betting fans and the Punchestown executive to host Henderson and the horse that has put the razzamatazz back into National Hunt racing, there must have been a collective groan from the connections of his likely opponents in the Grade 1 Champion Chase on April 23, with the likes of Cue Card and Sizing Europe both having been well and truly beaten recently by the chaser who has never lost over the larger obstacles.
In the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Sprinter Sacre’s nonchalant dismissal of the high-class Sizing Europe – the 2011 champion – had to be seen to be believed, his 19-length defeat of Henry de Bromhead’s fine horse being executed while on the bridle throughout.
It was a case of déjà vu for observers when Henderson’s star stepped up to two-and-a-half-miles for the first time at Aintree, for he blew apart the tremendously talented recent Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card with the minimum of fuss, easing down to win in tremendous fashion by four-and-a-half lengths.
Back at the minimum trip at Punchestown bookmakers are taking no chances and go a prohibitive 1/8 about Sprinter Sacre repeating the dose and making it 10 wins in succession, an amazing achievement when considering that nearly all those successes have come at the very highest level of the sport. Bar something unthinkable happening, Irish jumps fans are surely in for a treat and all present will remember the day they saw one of the greatest jumps horses of all-time.