Sprinter green light for Kempton
Steeplechasing's biggest star Sprinter Sacre has been confirmed an intended starter at Kempton next week, after tests left trainer Nicky Henderson satsified that the horse has fully recovered from the bug that ruled him out of the Tingle Creek Chase earlier this month.
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Sprinter Sacre will now make his seasonal reappearance in the williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27 before lining up the following month in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot.
Henderson told said: "Sprinter will go to Kempton, we've had a lot of people asking so we thought it best to let everybody know.
"The antibiotics he took cleared up his little problem he had before the Tingle Creek in no time at all.
"He worked very well on Saturday and again this morning and we scoped him yesterday and it was clean.
"As he missed his first target we were keen to give him a run and it still gives us three weeks until the Victor Chandler."
Officials at Kempton have confirmed that the race will not be moved from its December 27 slot to be added to the Boxing Day programme, so unless Channel 4 bosses can be persuaded to add a further racing broadcast to their Christmas schedule - an unlikely development according to insiders - Sprinter Sacre's reappearance is set to be broadcast exclusively on Racing UK and in betting shops on Turf TV.
Racecourse managing director Phil White said it was "really great news" that Sprinter Sacre looks set to line-up at the meeting.
"Traditionally we get a crowd of around 8,000 to racing on the 27th which is about half the number for Boxing Day, but it's very much been our ambition to try and build the quality of the second day of the meeting and Sprinter Sacre's participation is a real boost," he said.
"We did discuss the possibility of moving the race with the broadcasters and the sponsors, but we'd already sold out the restaurant and all of our hospitality and we felt that it wouldn't be fair on those racegoers to move the feature race of the day.
"Going racing on Boxing Day is part of a festive tradition for a number of our most loyal customers, but there are others for whom it might be easier to come racing on the 27th and they look like having a Christmas treat in store."