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Sprinter Sacre features in mouth-watering Melling Chase at Aintree

Updated: Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 14:06 | Comments

Sprinter Sacre led home Cue Card in last season's Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival
Sprinter Sacre led home Cue Card in last season's Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival

Jump racing's superstar Sprinter Sacre graces Aintree on Friday as he bids to take his unbeaten record over fences to nine in the John Smith's Melling Chase.

The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old has lit up the world of fencing with a series of impressive performances.

The latest came in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham where he treated his rivals with contempt, brushing aside the 2011 winner Sizing Europe by 19 lengths.

However, this is a different test as he is stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time over the bigger obstacles and his five rivals include two talented performers in Cue Card and Flemenstar.

Cue Card got within seven lengths of Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle Trophy last year and Colin Tizzards's charge showed he is very effective at a longer trip when winning the Betfair Ascot Chase and the Ryanair Chase on his last two starts.

Flemenstar missed Cheltenham after he was found to have a lung infection when he was beaten by Sir Des Champs in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February, but trainer Peter Casey reports his stable star to be ready to return to the fray.

As well as Sprinter Sacre, Henderson saddles Finian's Rainbow. He took this race 12 months ago after his success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which he did not defend last month.

The Nick Williams-trained For Non Stop, third to Cue Card in the Ryanair, and Mad Moose from the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable complete the sextet.

Three horses were withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage. They were Edgardo Sol, Ghizao and Wishfull Thinking.

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