If, like me, you have been looking forward to Sprinter Sacre making his seasonal reappearance on Saturday in the Tingle Creek Chase, you’ll be hoping that there is nothing serious in the results of the tracheal wash carried out on him yesterday.
Trainer Nicky Henderson explained that a routine check yesterday did not come back clean, and that it will need a clear result in a second test on Thursday to allow his star two-mile chaser to take his place in the line up at Sandown. He said, “We routinely give the horses a tracheal wash every Monday morning and although Sprinter Sacre’s looked normal the figures from the laboratory told us otherwise.”
Henderson went on to say that the infection was something that he could not give the horse any treatment for, and so it was a case of wait and see what happens. But his warning was very clear. “If the figures are the same when we test him on Thursday then he won’t run.”
The trainer had already mapped out the same route to Cheltenham as last season, so if Sprinter Sacre doesn’t run on Saturday, it’s likely to be mid January and Ascot before we see him, in what we know as the Victor Chandler.
The news led race sponsors Bet Victor, who had him as low as 1/12 for the Tingle Creek, to close their market on the race pending further news. His absence would be good news for the connections of the other ten horses entered. Gary Moore, whose Sire De Grugy was second in the betting, had already said that his horse had no chance of beating Sprinter Sacre. That’s understandable, given that Sire De Grugy is rated 18 pounds less than Sprinter Sacre and yet they would be racing off level weights. Now he faces the prospect of saddling the race favourite.