I told members the latest comeback race for Sprinter Sacre was not a one horse race. I was wrong! He won the Shloer Chase by a whopping 14 lengths. But I did tell members to take the 3/1 on offer via Paddy Power on Saturday. And I put my money where my mouth was.
My biggest win bet of the current jumps season and, barring a fall, I knew a long way out that Sprinter Sacre would win.
It represents spectacular training performance by Nicky Henderson and his team. They deserve all the praise coming their way. Henderson’s patience, tested at times, has paid off.
He said: “It had to be today or the doubters would have been winning the argument. I’ve had my doubts. But he looks completely different this year. He’s not 100%, but he’s where we want him to be.”
It was also a memorable moment for jockey Nico de Boinville who said: “I’ve never experienced anything like that. It’s unbelievable.”
The sight of a former wonder horse returning to something approaching his best was a joy to behold.
I’ve already backed him to win the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 5th at a current best price of 7/4.
One can only hope the ground is Good or, at worse, Good to Soft. If it’s a bog I expect he will be withdrawn and my ante-post bet lost. It’s the chance you take.
Looking even further ahead, the 5/1 for him to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival may turn out to be a generous price.
But one step at a time. For now I shall savour the sight of Sprinter Sacre coming home miles in front of the opposition. I particularly enjoyed the encore he took from the crowd that gathered in the winners’ enclosure. Rapturous applause, a standing ovation and I swear I saw Sprinter Sacre take a bow.
Racing needs superstars. Faugheen may have blotted his unspoilt copybook over in Ireland (now 15/8 to win the Champion Hurdle at the Festival), but I’d fancy him to bounce back to winning form in the spring.
However, Sprinter Sacre is back. It’s the best story of the jumps season so far and news that whets my appetite for some great meetings between now and April.