Henderson wants aggressive Sprinter Sacre

March 16, 2016
Racing - Horse Racing - Bet Now at Bet365

Nicky Henderson feels aggressive tactics will allow Sprinter Sacre the best chance of regaining his crown in this afternoon's Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Seven Barrows handler admits that allowing Ruby Walsh and Un De Sceaux dictate matters from the front would be 'scary' and he hinted that jockey Nico De Boinville will be told to let Sprinter Sacre go forward if he shows the inclination to do so.

Last year's Arkle winner Un De Sceaux is 8/11 to hand trainer Willie Mullins a first Queen Mother victory while Sprinter Sacre, one of three former winners in the line-up, is 9/2 to regain the crown he won in such emphatic fashion in 2013.

Henderson concedes that his ten-year-old is unlikely to scale the heights of days gone by but he feels the horse is much better prepared for battle at this level compared with 12 months ago, when he was pulled up in the race.

"When he was at his best he was in a different league. We can't hope to be there again, but he is as good as he is going to get, I think," Henderson said.

"Un De Sceaux looks very good. If Ruby gets to dictate on him, that will be scary. One thing is for sure, they are going to go a right old gallop."

Sprinter Sacre made his seasonal reappearance when winning the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November.

With doubts surrounding his overall well-being in the run-up to that race, Henderson was fully aware that any failure might have spelled the end for one of his stable stars.

Recalling that race, he revealed the plan was to allow Sprinter Sacre to be aggressive in the race and Henderson hopes similar tactics now will afford him the chance to expose any potential chinks in Un De Sceaux.

"He is nicely aggressive at the moment - he wants to do it - his attitude is great," Henderson said.

"I said to Nico first time out 'don't disappoint him, if he wants to take you, great'. He went up the hill and suddenly took off, like he used to, and the race was dead in ten strides. He got a bit tired in the end, but that is where we can find a little more.

"Somebody, someday, has got to get upsides Un De Sceaux and see what happens. I hope it will be us."

Last year's winner Dodging Bullets is a 10/1 chance for champion trainer Paul Nicholls in the Queen Mother while 2014 hero Sire De Grugy is 16/1 for trainer Gary Moore.


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