Sprinter Sacre looks set to dominate his rivals in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton

Nicky Henderson’s Champion two mile chaser will look to make a winning seasonal debut in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton this afternoon. Unbeaten last season he will face quality opposition in the form of the progressive Sire De Grugy. The ground may not be in the champion’s favour today but it should not stop him from continuing his unbeaten record.

Over in Ireland at Leopardstown (1.10) the best of the Irish two-milers will be taken on by Nicky Henderson’s Kid Cassidy. Everything came together for him in his last run at Cheltenham but he will face a stronger test today when he meets Arvika Legionnere and the former champion Sizing Europe. The winner of this contest may well be considered the strongest threat to Sprinter Sacre come Cheltenham in the spring. A surprise winner today is a possibility with Tony Martin’s Benefficient.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Utopie Des Bordes (Kempton 2.00)

Second in the valuable fixed brush hurdle at Haydock this classy mare will outclass her female rivals in this much weaker contest. Her fifth at Sandown was no disgrace in what looked a good race.

Crockford’s Whisper – Cause Of Causes e/w (Leopardstown 2.55)

A very useful handicap hurdler who is due to pick up a big prize over the larger obstacles. The whisper about this horse has been borne out by the booking of AP McCoy. Expect Gordon Elliott’s and JP McManus’s plan to come to fruition this afternoon with a big run.

Archer’s Selection – Royal Skies (Wetherby 1.45)

Archer would have noticed this Shergar Cup winners conversion to hurdles under the masterful Ferguson and Bloomfields. Archer would have been up on this one.

Crockford’s festive gambles around the courses:

Kempton – Dodging Bullets (1.30), Utopie Des Bordes (2.00), Sprinter Sacre (2.30) and Ma Filleule e/w (3.05)

Leopardstown – Sizing Europe and Benefficient e/w (1.20), Moyle Park (1.50), Lastoftheleaders e/w (2.20) and Cause Of Causes e/w and Romanesco e/w (2.55)

Leicester – Chrsitopher Wren (12.35), Stow (1.10), Oh Crick (1.40) and Moss Park (2.10)

Wetherby – Retrieve (12.45), Royal Skies (1.45) and His Excellency (2.15)

Southwell – Pushkin Museum (12.25), Angelo Poliziano (1.25) and Kung Hei Fat Choy (2.25)

Wolverhampton – Spic N’ Span e/w (3.55), Dutch Rifle (5.55), Mrs Micawber (6.25) and This Is Me (6.55)

Limerick – Renneti (1.55) and Farawaysoclose e/w (2.35)


(Featured Photograph – Sprinter Sacre races away up the Cheltenham hill by Stuart Rice)

Sprinter Sacre