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Henderson hopeful for Cheltenham bid

January 18, 2015 07:05:48 UK

Trainer Nicky Henderson is still hopeful of taking Sprinter Sacre to the Cheltenham Festival, as he waits for his horse to be given the all-clear.

There were signs of some blood in Sprinter Sacre’s nostrils after he was beaten into second place by Dodging Bullets in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday and needed checks by vets afterwards to make sure that there was no serious issue.

We always said he didn’t have to win to prove he was getting there and I think we saw a lot of the signs of him at his best.

Nicky Henderson

And, as long as the prognosis is good for their charge, Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty expect another battle royal between first and second at Ascot in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Geraghty was delighted with his ride on Saturday, saying: “He felt brilliant, he jumped brilliantly and travelled away and he’ll come on plenty for it. Short of winning the race, I couldn’t be any happier.

“I’d be hopeful of getting closer in March. His jumping will get better, he’ll get fitter. I’d be very happy with him. He put up a good show, he showed plenty of his former self.”

Meanwhile, Henderson was not too worried by the loss, preferring to see the positives after a first run in more than a year.

He added: “The hype’s gone but the whole thing was pleasing. We always said he didn’t have to win to prove he was getting there and I think we saw a lot of the signs of him at his best.”

Sprinter Sacre is 3.50 to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with Dodging Bullets 6.00 and Champagne Fever 8.00.

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