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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Sacre set to take on SanctuaireHeadlines
Nicky Henderson with Sprinter Sacre

Nicky Henderson believes a clash with Sanctuaire in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 8 will provide the first significant test of Sprinter Sacre's career over fences.

In a league of his own as a novice last season, Caroline Mould's gelding won all his five outings in effortless fashion, including the Arkle at Cheltenham and the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree.

Henderson decided to take Sprinter Sacre out of last Sunday's Shloer Chase at the Cheltenham Open meeting but his preparation has continued smoothly on the Seven Barrows gallops. He is, however, scheduled to face a very useful opponent in the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire.

Increasingly quirky over hurdles, he made a smooth, if late, transition to fences and was three-out-of-three including a 17-length victory over senior opponents at the Tingle Creek course and distance in April.

"There is no denying that the Sportingbet Tingle Creek will be a whole new ball game for Sprinter Sacre," said Henderson.

"Not only will he be faced with a natural pacemaker in Sanctuaire, but also an extremely good horse.

"Sanctuaire poses a big challenge to Sprinter Sacre. It is going to be an extremely interesting race."

The Sandown card has been enhanced with the addition of a new race - the Anne Boleyn Mares' Handicap Hurdle - and the ground is currently good, good to soft in places on the chase course with several spells of rain due this week.

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