ALL roads lead back to Cheltenham and the Queen Mother Champion Chase for Sprinter Sacre after he lit up Trials Day at Prestbury Park with a stunning effort in the Victor Chandler Chase.
Not for the first time, Nicky Henderson’s superstar was electric at his fences, taking it up on the run to the sixthlast, after Mad Moose had opened a sizeable early advantage on the field.
Barry Geraghty quickened matters noticeably going to three out and while Sanctuaire had crept into it from the rear, his threat was only a fleeting one as Sprinter Sacre sauntered over the last two fences.
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The gallant Mad Moose rallied as Sanctuaire began to toil, and got up past Somersby to take second, some 14 lengths adrift of the 1-5 favourite.
Henderson said: “Barry’s confidence in him is unbelievable.
He knows you can jump anything with him. He’s such a gorgeous horse to look at, you would think he would be something special. He knows he is special and I suppose we are all starting to believe he might be.’’ Sprinter Sacre is 1-3 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Queen Mother.
Rolling Star (5-2) mastered the odds-on Irish Saint close home to make a winning British debut by two and a quarter lengths in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial and set up a double for Henderson and Geraghty.
Paddy Power make Rolling Star their new 6-1 favourite (from 10-1) for the Triumph.
Ladbrokes World Hurdle hope Reve De Sivola was all out to see off Henderson’s Oscar Whisky by a neck in a pulsating Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle under Richard Johnson.
Trainer Nick Williams said: ‘‘The World Hurdle has to be our next step, as we need three miles and he doesn’t have to have this sort of ground, although he wouldn’t want it very quick.’’ Oscar Whisky could renew rivalries in the World Hurdle, according to Henderson.
Another of Denis O’Regan’s now typical waiting rides was just enough for Cape Tribulation to prevent a showstopping comeback from Imperial Commander in the Argento Chase.