Nicky Henderson reports Sprinter Sacre to be A1 following his comeback second in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
The chaser travelled with his usual fluency and drew gasps from the crowds with some of his leaps, but had no answer to Tingle Creek winner Dodging Bullets.
Trained by Paul Nicholls and bred by Frankie Dettori, the Noel Fehily-ridden Dodging Bullets had Sprinter Sacre’s measure approaching the final fence and went on to win by three lengths.
Sprinter Sacre, sent off the 4-6 favourite, won his first 10 starts over fences before he was pulled up at Kempton last December with a fibrillating heart.
Nursed back to health, Henderson had agonised over whether to run him on soft ground at the Berkshire circuit.
He had, however, been to Newbury for a public schooling session with stable companion Tanks For That.
Sprinter Sacre was found to have suffered a small bleed after the race which Henderson did not think was too serious and he is satisfied with the condition of his star two-miler.
Henderson also expects Sprinter Sacre to have gained plenty from the run ahead of a possible attempt at regaining his crown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Henderson said: “Most importantly he’s fine. He’s been out and looked very perky. He was great, he trotted up, was very bouncy and full of it. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed himself.
“He’s sound and his legs are good. He ate up and did all the right things. No damage done which is always a relief. It was great to see him out and everyone was pleased with what he did.
“He showed the old Sprinter was still there and turning into the straight you were happy. I loved the way he travelled. He just got a little bit tired. Only one day matters and he’ll come on plenty for it.”
Sprinter Sacre is now a best-priced 3-1 favourite for Champion Chase glory with Dodging Bullets 5s. Sire De Grugy is second favourite at 9-2.
Fehily said of the 7-2 winner: “He stays well, and the Cheltenham hill wouldn’t be any problems for him. He’s a great horse.”