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Nicky Henderson reports improvement in Sprinter Sacre

Updated: Sunday, 29 Dec 2013 11:19 | Comments

Sprinter Sacre
Sprinter Sacre

Sprinter Sacre is expected to arrive back at Nicky Henderson's yard later today after his heart problem righted itself.

The seven-year-old was found to be suffering from an irregular heartbeat after being pulled up by Barry Geraghty on his seasonal return in Friday's Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Sprinter Sacre returned to Henderson's Seven Barrows base on Friday night but was sent to Newmarket for assessment by Celia Marr, a specialist in equine internal medicine and cardiology, on Saturday.

Marr confirmed the original diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and decided to give the horse some time to see if his heartbeat regulated itself, which Henderson reports it has now done.

He told Press Association Sport: "There's been quite a big turnaround since yesterday and it's all for the good.

"Quite soon after I put out an update yesterday afternoon, I spoke to Celia and she told me he had done what we hoped he would do and the problem had righted itself and it has stayed that way overnight.

"It's all correct this morning and we have sent a box to pick him up and he will be back home later today.

"The good thing is the fact it has self-righted means we don't have to go into the process of using any drugs. Quinidine is the normal solution for this kind of problem but it's a risky drug and it's good news we don't have to go down that route."

Henderson revealed further tests are planned for later this week and underlined the problem is a very recent development.

"The plan now is to bring him home and give him a couple of quiet days before starting light exercise," he said.

"Celia wants to come down to Seven Barrows on Friday and canter him using an ECG, so we will see how that goes.

"It will be nice to have him back at home, in his own box and eating his own food. He's much more comfortable in his usual environment.

"The important thing is that it is only a very recent onset (of the problem). Barry was so quick in picking up something was wrong and in pulling him up at Kempton."

It had been suggested the problem might rule out Sprinter Sacre for the year, but Henderson will take his time before making any plans for his seven-time Grade One winner.

"It would be speculation (to say he won't run again this season). We're talking about cantering him again on Friday so you wouldn't rule out training him again this season," he said.

"It's got to be a step at a time with him and we will obviously know more in the coming weeks as he is back in light exercise and we will continue to monitor him."

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