High-profile races rescheduled
Updated: Friday, 18 Jan 2013 19:07
Trainer Nicky Henderson has welcomed efforts to restage Saturday's lost big races at alternative courses next weekend.
The exciting Sprinter Sacre was due to have his second outing of the season in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot, but with Berkshire snowbound, the valuable two-mile event will now be held at Cheltenham's trials meeting on Saturday week.
Sprinter Sacre, who lit up the novice division and won the Arkle Trophy, has been confined to one start this term, in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, and needs match practice before he heads to the sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Henderson had Grandouet, another who needs runs under the belt after reappearing from a long absence when second to Zarkandar in the International Hurdle, entered in the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.
Talks are under way for the event, which featured a possible clash with Peddlers Cross, to be moved to Doncaster next Saturday.
"I'm pleased the Victor Chandler has moved to Cheltenham as he needs to run, and they are saying that hopefully the Haydock race will be saved as well," said Henderson, who has seen plenty of snow at his Lambourn yard.
"All the horses cantered this morning, the snow wasn't too heavy at the time but it's still coming down and there's more about now.
"I'll have to do a pitch inspection for the rest of the weekend."
The Victor Chandler Chase will be worth £70,000 thanks to a £40,000 contribution from the Horserace Betting Levy Board.
When run as a handicap, the race was held at Prestbury Park in 2005 when it was won through a tremendous weight-carrying effort by Well Chief.
Simon Claisse, Cheltenham's head of racing and clerk of the course, said: "It is obviously disappointing that as a result of the bad weather Ascot has been forced to abandon Saturday's fixture.
"However, we are pleased that the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase has been rescheduled to take place on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham.
"The race will make a great addition to an already extremely strong card and it is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that the race has been rearranged promptly to safeguard this important race.
"We would like to thank Victor Chandler and the Levy Board in particular for their support."
The BHA later confirmed the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial will be transferred to Doncaster on 26 January.
New entries must be made by noon on Monday, with declaration time 10am on Friday.