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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Full speed ahead for SprinterHeadlines
Sprinter Sacre

Nicky Henderson finally unleashes perhaps the most exciting horse in British jumps racing when Sprinter Sacre takes to Sandown in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase.

But the latest renewal of the Grade One event promises to be yet another chapter in the battle between title rivals Henderson and Paul Nicholls, who sends Sanctuaire into play.

The pair were born in France six years ago, just three weeks apart, and are unbeaten in the eight races over fences in which they have run to date, with five of those belonging to Sprinter Sacre, the probable odds-on favourite, who romped home in the Arkle Trophy and later at Aintree.

"I wanted to run him at Cheltenham, as the race slotted in well, but in that ground I was worried about running him with only three weeks before the Tingle Creek," said Henderson.

"We don't know if he goes in very soft ground, as he hasn't been in it before, so we'll have to see. The soft ground will not be ideal but there are only three targets for him this season - the Tingle Creek, the Victor Chandler and the Queen Mother - so we have to take our chances.

"He is a classy, easy-moving horse, which would suggest he would handle the soft ground.

"I do love the two-mile races at Sandown and I think with Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuaire taking each other on, it should be one of the great races."

Regular partner Barry Geraghty has in the past described Sprinter Sacre as an "aeroplane".

The jockey said: "You have to respect Sanctuaire after the performance he put up at Sandown Park in April and I think he poses Sprinter Sacre's biggest test yet. As for the soft ground, hopefully it won't cause any problems, but it's one of those things you don't know until on the day.

"It's going to be an interesting race. He's in great form, schooling, working well. All the signs are good so I'm really looking forward to it."

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