Sprinter Sacre on course for Cheltenham
Sprinter Sacre pleased Nicky Henderson at his Seven Barrows base on Friday morning as he builds up towards the defence of his BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase crown, with a racecourse gallop firmly on the agenda.
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The brilliant eight-year-old will have had the unusual preparation of not having completed in a race over fences this season if he gets to Cheltenham after he was pulled up at Kempton over Christmas with an irregular heartbeat.
That has now righted itself and the seven-times Grade One winner is gradually returning to full-speed work, with a racecourse workout, likely to be at Kempton, on the horizon.
Sprinter Sacre will parade in the paddock at Newbury on Saturday, fitted with his regular heart monitor.
"Sprinter was very good this morning, he did everything we wanted," said Henderson.
"He had his heart monitor on this morning and it was all fine.
"It was a proper bit of work. He was a fit horse on the 27th (December), then he missed three weeks, and he'll come to Kempton to do something at some point.
"We've got a fair bit to do yet (before Cheltenham), but we've got a month and a bit to go.
"You'd have to say with what he's done this morning that if everything continues we're on schedule. Everything has to go the right way, we can't afford any bruises, knocks or bangs or sneezes but if we get a clear run he's got every chance of getting there.
"Tomorrow is his rest day anyway, so we're just going to take him on an away day to Newbury.
"It's just down the road and he'll walk around the paddock for 10 minutes. We just want him to have a nice experience of going away again."