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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Sacre tops Chandler sevenHeadlines
Sprinter Sacre

Sprinter Sacre is set to face six rivals in Saturday's Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot, if the meeting survives a 4.30pm precautionary inspection on Friday.

Nicky Henderson has described the gelding as his "big black aeroplane" and the seven-year-old is unbeaten in his six starts over fences. In his sole outing so far this season, he dished out a 19-and-a-half-length beating to Sanctuaire, who was thought to be the only two-miler capable of giving him a race.

Paul Nicholls has decided to pitch Sanctuaire against his old rival again after he returned to winning ways at Kempton over Christmas.

Last year's winner Somersby is due to have his first start for Mick Channon, while Alan King's Kumbeshwar finished second in the Tingle Creek to Sprinter Sacre and is chasing more prize money. Philip Hobbs runs Wishfull Thinking, and the Venetia Williams-trained Idarah and Tony Carroll's Kinkeel complete the field.

Frost covers have been down at Ascot since last weekend but snow is forecast which makes their removal very difficult.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "It got down to minus 4C last night and is not due to get above freezing today and there are some signs of frost under the covers. I'm pretty confident we could race today but could not be certain unless I lifted the covers right off and I don't plan on doing that.

"It is due to remain cold, although maybe not minus 4C again. Snow is forecast for Friday afternoon and evening, so it makes senses to have a precautionary look on Friday when we'll have a good look under the covers and we'll be able to assess the snow situation."

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5 February 2016

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