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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Sacre adds sparkle to ShloerHeadlines
Sprinter Sacre

Sprinter Sacre will make his reappearance against six rivals in Sunday's Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.

Nicky Henderson's six-year-old went through his novice season unbeaten and never came off the bridle in winning the Arkle and the Maghull Novices' Chase in the spring. He also claimed the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury against his elders, so he does have experience outside novice company.

"I'd rather have him than not have him, he's very exciting. I think of everyone who watched him last year I was the one who probably didn't enjoy it as much as other people did. He's great to watch, he's flashy, showy and very exciting," said Henderson.

"Everybody wants to find these horses. It's terrific. Our job is to get him there and keep him in one piece, but I'd rather have it (the pressure) than not have it. He looked very special throughout last year, but you start again and when you start again anything can happen. It's never the same.

"He was exciting to watch last year. I find him absolutely terrifying. Barry (Geraghty) says it's the most exciting thing you can do. We'll just have to see. He's in great form, he's a great big show-off. He loves to race, he loves to jump. He's just got a style that is exciting to watch."

The Seven Barrows handler has an enviable team of talent at his disposal this season, so much so that he is favourite for many to wrest the champion trainers' crown off Paul Nicholls.

After this weekend, Henderson sends Long Run to Haydock for the Betfair Chase and Bobs Worth to Newbury for the Hennessy, so it is understandable he feels the next few weeks are critical.

He said: "The next three weekends are going to be crucial, they are hectic times and nervous. It's frightening, because this is when the A-team are going to come out and they have to do what they are going to do. They are a great bunch of horses, but other people have them too. We just have to hope - you find out where you are."

Taking Sprinter Sacre on is the Philip Hobbs-trained Wishfull Thinking, who has never quite rediscovered the form of his novice season.

Nicholls runs the Graham Wylie-owned Doeslessthanme, winner of his last three races last season. Oliver Brady sends over Imperial Shabra from Ireland, while Evan Williams saddles Lancetto. Finch Flyer and Kinkeel complete the septet.

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