Sacre to wait on ground conditions

Sprinter Sacre
Sprinter Sacre
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Sprinter Sacre, the highest-rated chaser in training, spearheads six confirmations for the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has, however, repeatedly stated he does not want to bring his stable star back on unsuitably heavy ground after over a year off the track, but plenty of rain has been forecast this week.

Sprinter Sacre has undergone extensive treatment in an effort to get him back to his brilliant best after he was pulled up with a fibrillating heart at Kempton in December 2013.

A racecourse gallop at Newbury, where he schooled over some fences, convinced Henderson the nine-year-old was on the right road.

But while it is still the intention to run this weekend, the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 7 is the back-up plan. Big-race jockey Barry Geraghty was on board for his gallop at Newbury and has his fingers crossed not too much rain falls between now and Saturday.

Geraghty said: “The forecast is pretty wet and it just depends how bad it gets, we wouldn’t want it too heavy.

“He’s in good form, Nico (de Boinville) schooled him on Friday morning. I wasn’t there, but the reports were good.

“I could understand why the bookmakers cut him (after his Newbury schooling session), even though it wasn’t a race. He looked well and he showed there he seems to be reasonably well in himself.”