No surprise as Sprinter takes Victor Chandler
Updated: Saturday, 26 Jan 2013 14:02
Sprinter Sacre took Grade 1 honours in the Victor Chandler Chase at Cheltenham with his now-customary panache.
Nicky Henderson's pride and joy was again electric at his fences, taking it up on the run to the sixth-last, after Mad Moose had opened a sizeable early advantage on the field.
Barry Geraghty quickened matters noticeably going to three out and while Sanctuaire had crept into it from the rear, his threat was only a fleeting one and Sprinter Sacre was majestic over the last two fences.
The gallant Mad Moose rallied as Sanctuaire began to toil, and got up past Somersby to take second, some 14 lengths adrift of the 1-5 favourite.
"It's so easy for him, he travelled so easy, he jumped so well. He's all class" - Barry Geraghty
Geraghty said: "He's so natural, he's one of the most natural I've ridden.
"I was afraid of the ground and didn't think it would suit him as well. He was very relaxed today, he jumped brilliant and I never had a moment's concern. He was very good.
"He coped with that (heavy) ground so well. I've not sat on him since the Tingle creek and when I got up on him in the parade ring I remembered why I love him so much. He's just unbelievable to get on.
"It's so easy for him, he travelled so easy, he jumped so well. He's all class."
Henderson said: "I'm glad it's over. I had reservations about running, but we had to run. Barry was worried about the ground, I was worried he was a bit fresh.
"He can handle any ground, I think, and that's what a good horse should be able to do.
"I said to Barry before the race if you do make five lengths in the air then there is point giving it back.
"Barry's confidence in him is unbelievable. He knows you can jump anything with him.
"He's such a gorgeous horse to look at, you would think he would be something special. He knows he is special and I suppose we are all starting to believe he might be."
Sprinter Sacre is now expected to head straight for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March, for which he is 2-5 favourite with Paddy Power and BetVictor.
Henderson said: "It is a shame to be going to Cheltenham as his third run of the season, but that's the sort of season it's been. Aintree is two and a half (miles) which opens Punchestown.
"He's all speed, I'm not saying he wouldn't go two and a half at Aintree but we'll have to see."
Nigel Twiston-Davies said of Mad Moose: "He was given 25 lengths at the start and that makes a difference, but he does stay well and I thought that was a good run."