• Racing/
  • Sacre Tackles Champion Quartet

Boylesports.com Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2m

  • (5yo+, 2m, Class 1, 5 runners)
  • Winner €124,000 2nd €38,000 3rd €18,000 4th €6,000 5th €4,000
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 22.10s
  • Off time: 17:32:40
Full result
Result 17:30 Punchestown
Pos Horse Distance/th> Odds
1st 5 Sprinter Sacre 1/9f
2nd 4 Sizing Europe 6/1
  • Last Updated: April 22 2013, 17:29 BST

View from connections ahead of Tuesday's Boylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival.

Sprinter Sacre: The undoubted star of the show
Sprinter Sacre: The undoubted star of the show

Sprinter Sacre, the undoubted star of National Hunt racing, will face just four rivals in Tuesday's Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown.

In what many will see as the highlight of the Festival on the opening day, Nicky Henderson's unbeaten chaser will once again take on former champion chaser Sizing Europe.

Henderson's machine effortlessly disposed of Sizing Europe in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, but it had been mooted by trainer Henry de Bromhead that he could swerve a second clash and run his stable star over further.

However, the likelihood of very testing ground has ruled out that possibility and De Bromhead admits he had little option but to run Sizing Europe.

"We had the choice again, but with the ground as it is it forced our hand somewhat," said De Bromhead.

"It's the old cliche - you should never be afraid of the one horse as anything can happen. He seems in great form at home so we'll see how we get on.

"He (Sprinter Sacre) fairly put us away at Cheltenham but we just haven't got the ground to step him up in trip so we'll stick to two miles and do right by the horse.

While Henderson had slight reservations about asking Sprinter Sacre to contest his third Festival in a short space of time, he has always been a big supporter of the Punchestown meeting and wants the new king of jumps racing to face a new audience.

Henderson was also worried about testing ground earlier in the season but he handled it with aplomb at Cheltenham in January.

"You have to be mindful of horses at this time of year," said the Seven Barrows handler.

"He's been to Cheltenham and he's been to Aintree - it's quite easy to say he's not getting terribly hard races, but those Festivals take quite a bit out of horses, whatever happens.

"We've always said we'd like to take him over there (to Ireland). In fact, Aintree was the one where I surprised myself a little bit as that was the one that slotted in that I didn't expect to do.

"It's nice to be able to go, it's always been a great meeting and I think the horse deserves to go there. Earlier in the year Barry (Geraghty, jockey) was very worried when it was soft, but it didn't bother him.

"When you have something like this you have to enjoy it - I'm probably the person that enjoys it the least, but I'm lucky enough to have him here every day.

"We just want to do our best and all goes well because it would just be nice to finish on a good note," Henderson told At The Races.

De Bromhead will also be represented by Days Hotel, winner of two Grade Twos this season but facing a sterner task this time.

"As for Days Hotel, he will love the ground and he's a good jumper so deserves to take his chance - he isn't a pacemaker at all," he added.

"With Andrew (Lynch, jockey) on Europe, Phillip Enright rides him. He was on him in the Hilly Way earlier this season and got on very well with him.

"He's a good jockey and he should get a very nice ride. He's got a lot to find on Europe and even more on Sprinter Sacre, but there's lots of prize-money."

Last time out he was beaten by Foildubh in the Normans Grove Chase and John Ryan's charge is also in the line-up.

He has made great progress this season for Ryan and finally gained the big win his efforts deserved last time out and Paul Carberry returns from a minor injury to maintain the successful partnership.

"The horse is in great form but ground is the key to him, I hope it dries up a bit," said Ryan. "Last time at Fairyhouse was the best ground he's had all year, it made all the difference.

"If it does dry he'll run a big race, although I'm not saying we'll beat Sprinter Sacre. It's great for Punchestown and Irish racing that he's coming over but I just wish it was next year instead.

"I suppose there is a question mark about him travelling away from home for the first time but, for me, he's the best we've seen since Arkle.

"Nicky Henderson has always been a big supporter of Punchestown and Irish racing and I'm pleased he's champion trainer again as he's such a gentleman.

"We're in the race for second, I think. We're worse off at the weights with Days Hotel but we beat him with plenty in hand. Having Paul is a big plus, he took a few days off just to make sure he was right.

"Foildubh is only a second-season novice and it's only his third real season in training. He's been a revelation for me."

The quintet is completed by Paul Nolan's Noble Prince, whose season has been interrupted by injury and Nolan accepts his charge faces a tall order but, with prize-money down to fifth, the County Wexford handler thought he may as well take his chance.

"He got injured at Aintree on his first run and he's just had two runs over hurdles since," said Nolan.

"I thought he's run a bit better than he did the last day so we're sending him back over fences now. There's six grand just for finishing fifth if he gets around."


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