- Horse Racing
Sprinter Sacre slaughters Sanctuaire in Tingle Creek
Sprinter Sacre got the better of his shootout with Sanctuaire with a blistering, breathtaking success in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
The two second-season chasers were separated by only three pounds on official figures, but the market favoured Sprinter Sacre and the layers were spot on as Nicky Henderson's charge, sent off at 4/11, produced an astonishing display.
Sanctuaire was sent to the front from the off by Ruby Walsh and only Sprinter Sacre was able to go with him.
While Sanctuaire's fencing was brilliant, Sprinter Sacre made as couple of mistakes down the back straight and it appeared that Sanctuaire may have him in trouble.
That notion was dispelled at the three Railway Fences, as Sprinter Sacre closed in on his rival with the minimum of fuss.
Running towards three from home, Sprinter Sacre joined battled with Sanctuaire. If it was a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the contest as Barry Geraghty looked disdainfully over at Walsh.
Geraghty pressed the button turning for home and Sprinter Sacre shot clear in a matter of strides. He measured the final two fences with aplomb before skipping clear.
Sanctuaire was a spent force after the last and was collared for second by Kumbeshwar, but there was not really a second in this race.
"He has got the 'wow' factor," Henderson said. "I admit to being petrified about Sanctuaire.
"I knew that horse had got pace and would put it into the race which would stretch anybody and it was as soft as our fellow would ever want to go on.
"He's just class isn't he? I knew that I had something a bit special and I just wanted it to stay that way. That's as good a two-mile chaser as you'll ever see."
Captain Conan made it two from two over fences with another slick display in the Markel Insurance Henry VIII Novices' Chase. Nicky Henderson's charge was forced to make his own running, but it did not seem to hinder him as he got into a superb rhythm for Barry Geraghty. He was tracked through by Hinterland who travelled well for Ruby Walsh, but he had no answer as Captain Conan kicked on between the final two fences and the favourite powered away for an impressive success.
"That was very good for a big horse and he kept galloping and he was agile and tidy," Henderson said. "I wouldn't rule out going further at some stage, but on that ground and a stiff track, we might as well as stay at two miles. He's not a slow horse."
Henderson's third win on the card came in the Sportingbet Handicap Hurdle as Petin Robin humped top weight to a narrow success from Into Wain.
Hello Bud proved age is no barrier, as the 14-year-old repelled all comers to bag the Becher Chase.
The veteran loves the unique Aintree test and he was in the front rank from the outset. The likes of Gullible Gordon, Join Together, Big Fella Thanks, Swing Bill and In Compliance all took shots at Hello Bud, but he fended them off.
His fencing was exemplary and he answered rider Sam Twiston-Davies' every call after the last to deny the running-on Join Together.
The Twiston-Davies duo of son Sam and father Nigel capped their stellar day, which included a win of Master Of The Sea, with Little Josh's success in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.
Little Josh jumped superbly and the pace set by he and Gansey did for many, with only four finishing. Gansey jumped the last in front and both were weary horses on the long run to the line, but Little Josh stuck his neck out to take the prize.
Alan King often does well with juvenile hurdlers and he looks to have a smart recruit on his hands in the shape of L'Unique who produced a taking display to beat Cockney Sparrow in the Betfred 'The Bonus King' Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.