Star duo to take Tingle test
Barry Geraghty believes that Sprinter Sacre faces his stiffest test yet over fences when he tackles Sanctuaire in the much-anticipated Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
- Related Content
Both horses are unbeaten over fences and the handicapper has the pair rated only 3lb apart, with Nicky Henderson's Arkle winner Sprinter Sacre just ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire.
Sprinter Sacre appears to have the chasing world at his feet having gone unbeaten through his novice season, with a victory against his elders in the Game Spirit Chase also on his record.
Sanctuaire has only had three races over fences but has also shown considerable talent.
His 17-length victory over Victor Chandler Chase winner Somersby in the Celebration Chase showcased his talents in full.
Nicholls also runs the Graham Wylie-owned Doeslessthanme, second to Wishfull Thinking at Cheltenham first time out this season.
Alan King saddles Kumbeshwar, who recovered from a shocking fall at Kempton to win next time out at Haydock, while David Pipe is represented by the four-year-old His Excellency.
The seven-runner field is completed by the Venetia Williams-trained Idarah and Tony Carroll's Kinkeel.
"I'm looking forward to Saturday's race," said Sprinter Sacre's jockey. "You have to respect Sanctuaire after the performance he put up at Sandown Park in April and I think that he poses as Sprinter Sacre's biggest test yet.
"As for the soft ground, hopefully it won't cause any problems, but it's one of those things you don't know until on the day."
Henderson is also fully prepared to take a chance with Sprinter Sacre on the prevailing going.
"The soft ground will not be ideal but there are only three targets for him this season - the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase, the Victor Chandler at Ascot and the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase - so we have to take our chances. He is a classy, easy-moving horse which would suggest he would handle the going."
Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper confirmed that both hurdle and chase courses at Sandown were fully covered on Wednesday.
"After a very cold night on Wednesday (-3.4C) we are now expecting a wet night on Thursday, and a cold night on Friday, though not as cold as yesterday," he said"
"Taking all things into account and assuming the forecast is correct we are reasonably confident that we will be able to race on both days. Only if we get much more rain than is expected tonight or if Friday night turns much colder could we have any issues at all."