Crockford considers if the best horse in training Sprinter Sacre can possibly be beaten in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
The superlatives about Sprinter Sacre have been endless from turf commentators and punters alike. For many he is the ultimate Festival banker and so much so the average punter may not even venture to bet in the race and simply decide to prepare to sit back and enjoy another brilliant performance.
Over fences Henderson’s horse has never really come off the bridle but when challenged over hurdles he did on occasion find little when pushed by rivals. For Crockford the key question is can anyone truly challenge him enough to test his mettle under pressure?
Crockford considers his rivals:
Mail De Bievre – Fifth last time out when tiring after a front running performance at Newbury. There have been many whispers about how he will come on from that but surely he cannot trouble the others enough to be placed.
Sanctuaire – At the beginning of this season and the end of last he was touted as a potential rival to Sprinter Sacre with his impressive front running style. However, he has been comprehensively beaten since.
Sizing Europe – The former Champion and the horse that makes this a race rather than a crowning procession. Unbeaten this season and will have stamina in these conditions. At around 5/1 he does look an attractive price against the short odds on prices about the favourite if something goes amiss.
Somersby – A real contender for the crown in previous seasons but never quite good enough. For Crockford his chance at the title has now gone.
Sprinter Sacre – So impressive over fences that he is called the best horse in training. He is on the edge of being a racing superstar if not already. Surely a banker?
Tataniano – Outclassed by his rivals he will do well not to finish last in the race.
Wishfull Thinking – On a going day he is a quality horse, but with his problems it is hard to tell when that will be. However, this season he has started to be more consistent again and may just have place claims (if small ones) everything going well.
Unless something goes wrong with the horse or Sizing Europe gets him off the bridle and he finds nothing Sprinter Sacre will win.
1 Sprinter Sacre
2 Sizing Europe
(Featured photograph – Sprinter Sacre on the way to the winners enclosure at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Sprinter races up Cheltenham Hill by Stuart Rice)