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Sprinter Sacre set to take on four in Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 17:34 | Comments

Nicky Henderson: 'We just want to do our best and all goes well because it would just be nice to finish on a good note'
Nicky Henderson: 'We just want to do our best and all goes well because it would just be nice to finish on a good note'

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Sprinter Sacre, the undoubted star of National Hunt racing, will face just four rivals in today's Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown.

In what many will see as the highlight of the Festival on the opening day, Nicky Henderson's unbeaten chaser will once again take on former champion chaser Sizing Europe.

Henderson's machine effortlessly disposed of Sizing Europe in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, but it had been mooted by trainer Henry de Bromhead that he could swerve a second clash and run his stable star over further.

However, the likelihood of very testing ground has ruled out that possibility.

De Bromhead will also run Days Hotel, winner of two Grade Twos this season but facing a sterner task this time.

Last time out he was beaten by Foildubh in the Normans Grove Chase and John Ryan's charge is also in the line-up.

The quintet is completed by Paul Nolan's Noble Prince, whose season has been interrupted by injury.

"We've always said we'd like to take him over there (to Ireland)" - Nicky Henderson

While Henderson had slight reservations about asking Sprinter Sacre to contest his third Festival in a short space of time, he has always been a big supporter of the Punchestown meeting and wants the new king of jumps racing to face a new audience.

Henderson was also worried about testing ground earlier in the season but he handled it with aplomb at Cheltenham in January.

"You have to be mindful of horses at this time of year," said the Seven Barrows handler.

"He's been to Cheltenham and he's been to Aintree - it's quite easy to say he's not getting terribly hard races, but those Festivals take quite a bit out of horses, whatever happens.

"We've always said we'd like to take him over there (to Ireland).

"In fact, Aintree was the one where I surprised myself a little bit as that was the one that slotted in that I didn't expect to do.

"It's nice to be able to go, it's always been a great meeting and I think the horse deserves to go there.

"Earlier in the year Barry (Geraghty, jockey) was very worried when it was soft, but it didn't bother him.

"When you have something like this you have to enjoy it - I'm probably the person that enjoys it the least, but I'm lucky enough to have him here every day.

"We just want to do our best and all goes well because it would just be nice to finish on a good note," Henderson told At The Races.

Live television coverage of the Punchestown Festival from 16:00 on RTÉ One and 17:55 on RTÉ Two on Tuesday 23 to Friday 26 April. Live streaming on RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).

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