Sensational Sprinter cruises to Champion Chase victory

National Hunt superstar Sprinter Sacre amazed the 53,295-strong crowd at Prestbury Park to annihilate his competitors with a 19 lengths win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Going in to the race, the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old was the shortest-priced favourite for a Festival race since Arkle went for his third Gold Cup in 1966.

But, he justified his favouritism with an effortless display against a talented field that was fittingly applauded by the Cheltenham racegoers.

Antepost backers have been offered the price of 4–6 with Paddy Power that Sprinter Sacre can repeat his Champion Chase triumph next year.

They can also back The New One for the 2014 World Hurdle at 7–1 with Stan James, after the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained horse comfortably defeated the well-fancied favourite Pont Alexandre in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.

After Willie Mullins had dominated proceedings on day one, the considered ‘Irish banker’ in Pont Alexandre was expected to follow suit.

However, the Twiston-Davies father and son partnership sprung a small surprise to favourite backers, when jockey Sam guided The New One to a four lengths victory in the rare sunshine.

Being held back until the start of the hill, the Mrs S Such-owned horse was going best of the main contenders, while all eyes were on the Mullins-trained 6–4 favourite.

Though, approaching the hill, The New One (7–2) demonstrated his deadly turn of foot and soon left his competitors behind.

There were, however, Irish celebrations again on the second day of The Festival as they recorded four winners.

Of them all, the one that typifies the magic of the Cheltenham Festival the most was Lord Windermere’s (8–1) victory in the RSA Chase for handler Jim Culloty.

The former Irish jockey trained his first Festival winner today only eight years on from his last success on-board triple Gold Cup champion Best Mate.

Lord Windermere, under Irish Champion Jockey Davy Russell, took advantage of the final fence fall from fellow Irish raider Boston Bob to then outstay the second-placed horse, Lyreen Legend.

Other winners from across the Irish Sea included Back In Focus (9–4f) and Briar Hill (25–1) for Mullins in the John Oaksey National Hunt Handicap Chase and Champion Bumper respectively, and Gordon Elliott's Flaxen Flare (25–1) in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Finally, Alan King registered his first win at The Festival since Nenuphar Collonges won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2008, when Medinas succeeded in the Coral Cup at odds of 33–1.

An early inspection is set for 8am tomorrow morning with the temperature expected to reach –7C overnight.

Report and photos by James Yellen. M: 07889 085535. E:  [email protected]


James Yellen is a 22-year-old freelance racing journalist from Newbury, Berkshire.

He is currently in his third year at university studying for a degree in Sports Journalism and will be graduating in July this year.

James has previously written copy for the Racing Post and Press Association, as well as writing numerous articles for Eclipse Magazine.

He tips Champion Court in the Ryanair Chase at 10–1 as his nap bet for the Cheltenham Festival. Follow him on Twitter @JamesYellen. 

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