Sire favourite as Sacre misses out

  • Last Updated: February 24 2014, 9:33 GMT

Sire De Grugy now heads the betting for next month's Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival following the defection of Sprinter Sacre.

Sprinter Sacre will now miss the Cheltenham Festival
Sprinter Sacre will now miss the Cheltenham Festival

Trainer Nicky Henderson revealed that his work was a little below his normal brilliant best and he has had to draw stumps for the rest of the season with the "Black Aeroplane".

It means that Gary Moore's consistent eight-year-old is now the 15/8 favourite at Sky Bet ahead of Willie Mullins's Arvika Ligeonniere, who is a 5/1 chance generally.

Benefficient is 6/1 at Ladbrokes with Captain Conan trading at 7/1 with BetVictor and Coral, while 888sport make Al Ferof an 8/1 shot.

William Hill make Sir De Grugy an 11/8 chance currently and their spokeswoman Kate Miller commented: "It's tough going for Sprinter Sacre fans but at least the Champion Chase picture is clear.

"Sire de Grugy - almost faultless this season - quite rightly heads the betting but there is little doubting what an open renewal this is, and we may well see some supplements at the next stage with contenders jostling for their chance."

  • Updated at 0940 GMT on 24/02/2014.