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Sprinter Sacre heartbeat 'perfectly normal'

ESPN staff
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Sprinter Sacre was now been made favourite to defend his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown © PA Photos
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Nicky Henderson has confirmed Sprinter Sacre's heart rate to have returned to "normal" following a special workout on Friday.

Henderson's star charge was pulled up by Barry Geraghty during the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27, his first defeat over fences to date. It later emerged that Sprinter Sacre had suffered from an irregular heartbeat.

However, having since been examined by equine specialist Celia Marr, Sprinter Sacre underwent a cantering workout at Henderson's Seven Barrows stables, where no obvious issues were found.

As a result, Sprinter Sacre has now been restored as odds-on favourite to defend his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown at the Cheltenham Festival in March - although, Henderson still remains coy on whether the eight-year-old will be risked for a swift comeback.

"We can't tell an awful lot at this stage, but his heart was normal this morning and remained so through exercise," Henderson told PA Sport. "Everyone was happy and everything looked perfectly normal.

"The veterinary team will have to go and download the evidence, but as long as everyone is happy, we'll get him back into a normal routine for a couple of weeks. If we feel then he is ready for something more strenuous, which will be in two or three weeks' time, then we will repeat today's process again, with Celia Marr, and see how that goes.

"It is a possibility we could then move on, but I would only do that if we thought the Queen Mother was a real possibility."

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