Sprinter to stay at shorter trips
Nicky Henderson has ruled Sprinter Sacre out of moving up to three miles for the King George VI Chase this season, saying that the star of British steeplechasing will instead pursue a similar route as last season on his way to defending his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
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Interviewed for the Channel 4 Racing website, the champion trainer said: "They can put him in the betting all they like but it's daylight robbery if they're going to convince anyone to back him because he won't even be entered.
"Good horses are good for racing, I don't think there's any doubt about that. Nobody enjoyed Frankel or Sea The Stars more than I did. People who love racing love good horses, that's what it's all about.
"For all the great days out for Sprinter last year, the staggering one was Punchestown [when he took the Boylesports.com Champion Chase].
"It was the most extraordinary experience. Ireland is a great country and they love their horses there. The welcome and the reception they gave us afterwards was just unbelievable. They said it was one of the greatest days they had ever seen, and it was."
However, although Sprinter Sacre won't be taking on stablemate Long Run as he bids to win the King George for a third time, Simonsig - another of Henderson's aces - might be.
"He's a very easy horse to train in one sense in that he doesn't need a lot of work and he's very good at it," said the trainer. "But he's very susceptible to getting lots of infections at the wrong time. Three weeks before the Cheltenham Festival he was absolutely flying, then the week before he wasn't quite right and he was very messy on the day itself, but yes, he won, because he is that good.
"He started at over 2m 3f last year, and he won the Neptune the year before that. It all tells you he stays and I wouldn't rule him out of the King George. Otherwise he's going to have to go straight in and take on Sprinter Sacre which would be quite a pity."
Sky Bet have Simonsig as one of three 6/1 co-favourites for the contest, alongside Dynaste and Long Run.