Paul Nicholls believes Sandown will play to Sanctuaire's strengths when his exciting second-season chaser takes on Sprinter Sacre in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday week.
The six-year-old was a talented but quirky performer over hurdles but was a revelation when switched to the larger obstacles last term. He won his three starts by an aggregate of 74 lengths, with his last two victories coming at the Surrey track.
"Sprinter Sacre is an extremely talented horse but so is Sanctuaire," said the champion trainer, who has won the Tingle Creek eight times.
Although he is facing his toughest task to date against Arkle Trophy hero Sprinter Sacre, unbeaten in five starts over fences, Nicholls is bullish about his six-year-old's prospects.
He said: "They are only 3lb apart so I have no idea how it will pan out but I know that it is going to be an interesting race.
"When he won at Sandown in April, I knew he'd run well before the race, but it really was awesome the way he won.
"Sandown is the perfect course for front-running two-mile chasers and so it was obvious for us to come back with him for the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase.
"We've had a little trouble with him in the past at the start of races, but since he has been going over fences he has been grand at the start so I am not too worried about him in that respect.
"The trick with him is to run him when he is very fit and very fresh and he will certainly be both those next Saturday."
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