• Racing/
  • Sacre Seals Champion

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
  • Last Updated: April 23 2013, 19:29 BST

Sprinter Sacre secured his tenth chasing success on the spin when seeing off old rival Sizing Europe at Punchestown.

Sprinter Sacre: Accounted for Sizing Europe at Punchestown
Sprinter Sacre: Accounted for Sizing Europe at Punchestown

Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old was sent off a predictably warm order to get the better of his Irish rival in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase and he duly delivered the goods - though not perhaps as easily as the odds of 1/9 may have implied.

Andrew Lynch attempted to seize the initiative on Sizing Europe and having slipped the field in the early stages, the Champion Chase one-two set down to battle with three to jump.

Lynch went for his whip to ask the veteran for more as Geraghty eased alongside on the favourite and sent his mount to the front with two to take.

After getting a little closer than ideal to his fences, Sprinter Sacre had to be given a brief shake of the reins to keep him up to his work but any dangers behind has been taken care of, and a euphoric Geraghty acknowledged the crowd as they hit the line five lengths clear of their sole serious rival.

A delighted Nicky Henderson said: "Job done. He was at his best at Cheltenham, he wasn't quite as sharp at Aintree and wasn't as sharp today.

"Even if you go into what you think is an easy race, the atmosphere and the crowds are still going to take it out of you.

"To do all three (Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown) is very, very hard and he's had to work harder today than he has in the past.

"He didn't do anything wrong. He was clean and confident and fair play to Sizing Europe, who ran a hell of a race. I'd imagine he'll do the same next season."

Henderson went on: "I hope everyone has enjoyed seeing him, that's why we're here. We love coming. Ireland is a nation of horse lovers and you feel you owe it to everybody to bring him here.

"There's no point leaving him at home and the reception and appreciation he got was very, very special."

Barry Geraghty admitted to feeling a few nerves on the day: "Heavy ground probably doesn't suit my lad as well and from four out it wasn't as easy as it has been elsewhere, but we still put it to bed.

"I'd say there was more tension today than there was in Cheltenham. Just the crowd - the amount of people that were here for one horse was massive and the parade ring was 20-deep and there were cheers on the way out.

"It was the 'Bieber' effect when we were in the winners enclosure all right, brilliant, more so than when we were in Cheltenham because I think the Irish really love to see him here."

Henry de Bromhead was rightly proud of Sizing Europe's terrific performance in defeat.

The trainer said: "He (Sizing Europe) was superb. I said to Andrew (Lynch) to go and throw the kitchen sink at your man (Sprinter Sacre) and we got him off the bridle, but he's an incredible horse. At least we saw Barry having to push him out today."

The pair finished well clear of Days Hotel in third.


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