Tag Archives: cheltenham

JT McNamara in "very positive frame of mind" after being paralysed by horror fall

McNamara in 'very positive frame of mind' despite being paralysed by horror fall

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 29 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 29 March 2013

Jockey JT McNamara, seriously injured in
a fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, has expressed his
gratitude for the support he has received as it was publicly confirmed
he has been left paralysed.

A statement issued by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior
Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of
the McNamara Family, said: ‘JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay
Hospital, Bristol.

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

‘Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

‘He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.’

McNamara was injured in a first fence fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hancock said: 'It's a risky sport. Safety is important and it continues to be, but it is a risky sport and every jockey knows that. We are looking at safety measures and continue to do so.]

'But at the end of the day you're riding a horse at speed and jumping fences at speed so the risk is always there.'

JT McNamara

Paul Struthers, chief excutive of the Professional Jockeys Association, tweeted: 'Awful news with confirmation of the extent of JT's injuries. The risks faced/sacrifices made by our brave boys & girls face to entertain us.'

The Jockey Club tweeted: 'We echo the sentiments expressed across our sport & beyond, and send our very best wishes to JT McNamara & those dear to him.'

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has also spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing.

Now a successful pundit on television and radio, Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: 'It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

'When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised. This is the end of a glittering career.

'The great thing I can say is that he's in a positive frame of mind and that is number one. He's surrounded by people who love him and I can only extend my best wishes to him and his family.

'It's a high-risk sport and this is one of the things that can happen. As a jump jockey you go out to ride every day knowing it could be your last. You never think it could be you, it always happens to someone else.

'We devote our lives to the sport we love. None of us want to see a jockey injured, the same goes for the horse.

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

'Getting injured is always in the back of your mind but if you were thinking about it, you wouldn't be able to do your job.

'He's alive and well and in a positive frame of mind. It's important that racing does what it can to help him enjoy the rest of life. I cannot tell you how nice a guy he is.'

The latest statement on McNamara's condition was issued jointly by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund, on behalf of the rider's family and read: 'JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

'He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.'

John McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

Racing pundit McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

By
Louise Eccles

PUBLISHED:

18:49 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:40 GMT, 12 March 2013

Television pundit John McCririck has been taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival.

The 72-year-old will spend the night at Cheltenham General Hospital where he will undergo tests but his condition is not said to be serious.

McCririck isn't presenting Channel 4's coverage of the four-day festival for the first time in 30 years after it was revealed in January that he wouldn't be part of the corporation's broadcasting team.

His wife blamed his collapse on the stress of being sacked by Channel 4. McCririck is currently suing the channel for 3m for ageism and loss of earnings.

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

The 72-year-old – who was dropped by
Channel 4 in favour of a new racing team headed by Clare Balding –
called his wife before the last race today to say he felt unwell.

As he walked to meet her, he
apparently took a turn for the worse and had to be treated at the edge
of the parade ring by paramedics. He was then taken to hospital in an
ambulance.

Prior to his collapse, McCririck was
seen sitting in the media centre alone, looking glum. He rose
periodically to smoke a cigar on the balcony outside.

The commentator claims he was axed by
Channel 4 for being too old. In a statement issued in January, he said:
‘After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I
have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am
72. For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public
humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking 500,000.

John McCririck

John McCririck's wife

Ill: McCririck complained to his wife about feeling unwell before taking a turn for the worse

‘Ageism is illegal. For tens of
thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society.
This litigation should prove to be a watershed.

‘There’s no upper limit to the amount of damages employment tribunals can award under the Equality Act 2010.

‘I am seeking a further exemplary,
punitive 2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable
organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace.’

Channel 4 denied the allegations and said they would ‘vigorously’ defend the claim.

Cheltenham Festival video: Peter Scudamore, Sam Turner and Marcus Townend preview the big races

VIDEO: Sportsmail's top team preview the big races at the Cheltenham Festival

PUBLISHED:

13:22 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 19 February 2013

Racing doesn't get any better than the Cheltenham Festival so to preview the famous meeting we've put together the best team in the business.

Our man Marcus Townend talks to our top tipster Sam Turner and columnist and former champion jockey Peter Scudamore.

Sportsmail's award-winning photographer Graham Chadwick is the man behind the camera who put it all together.

VIDEO For top tips on runners and riders check out Sportsmail's special preview

Play Video

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Cheltenham Festival – win VIP tickets

WIN VIP tickets to the Cheltenham Festival, including meal and drinks – courtesy of lovetheraces.com

UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 18 February 2013

Sportsmail has teamed up with lovetheraces.com to offer you a sensational VIP trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

A day at the races offers something for everyone, from the glitz and glamour of the special day to the fun of a flutter and the thrill of a big winner.

And there’s no bigger racing event in the calendar than the world famous Cheltenham Festival next month featuring the Gold Cup.

Cheltenham

We’ve teamed up with lovetheraces.com to offer four people the chance of a memorable day and a unique experience worth over 2,000.

Our bumper offer includes hospitality
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12) – dining in style and just a jump or so away from the paddock and
parade ring.

The
package includes Club admission, race cards, car park label, a shared
table for the day, tea or coffee on arrival, a pre-race FOUR-course
feast of a lunch and afternoon tea, plus your own champagne to celebrate
any wins and a couple of bottles of wine.

Love the races

To be in with a chance, answer the following question:

What is the flagship race of the Cheltenham Festival
A) The Silver Cup
B) The Bronze Cup
C) The Gold Cup

E-mail your answer, along with your name, address and contact number to:

[email protected]

to arrive by 3pm on Friday, February 22.

PLEASE NOTE: You must validate your entry with the words CHELTENHAM COMP in your subject box; tickets do not include travel to/from the Cheltenham Festival or accommodation; normal Associated Newspapers terms and conditions apply – the Editor's decision is final.

If you don’t win the big prize, you can learn more about great racing days out by going to lovetheraces.com or check availability of any tickets for this year’s Cheltenham at cheltenham.co.uk

Idiot! What Zara Phillips told Mike Tindall when he bought 12k horse at auction (but it"s now a winner and worth 200k)

Idiot! What Zara Phillips told Mike Tindall when he bought 12k horse at auction (but it's now a winner and worth 200k)
Rugby player Mike Tindall bid for racehorse he knew nothing aboutHe did not intend to win the animal at auction with his low bids of 10,000 and 12,000The horse went on to win the Welsh Grand National and a hefty 200k pricetag

By
Mail On Sunday Reporter

PUBLISHED:

22:42 GMT, 19 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:22 GMT, 20 January 2013

Zara Phillips branded her husband Mike Tindall an ‘idiot’ when he splashed out 12,000 at auction on a racehorse he knew absolutely nothing about.

But the Queen’s granddaughter has been forced to eat her words after Monbeg Dude emerged victorious at the Welsh Grand National – and his value raced to the 200,000 mark.

The former England rugby star explained: ‘I like to bid at auctions without meaning to actually win things. I only went for a bite to eat and a night out. No horse had gone for less than 28,000 so I thought my first bid of 10,000 was pretty safe, likewise when I upped it to 12,000.

Proud: Owners Mike Tindall and Mike Scudamore with their racehorse Monbeg Duke, now worth 200k after an initial 12 pricetag

Proud: Owners Mike Tindall and Mike Scudamore with their racehorse Monbeg Duke, now worth 200k after an initial 12k pricetag

‘I knew nothing about the horse, hadn’t checked the brochure and couldn’t even see the Dude, as I was sitting with my back to the sale ring.’

Fortunately for Tindall, Michael Scudamore – son of champion jockey Peter – and fellow rugby players James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson agreed to share the burden of the cost.

Scudamore had to make a 30-minute drive from the sale room to his home in Cheltenham so he could pick up a lorry to transport the impromptu purchase.

Athlete: Zara Phillips is known for her prowess in the equestrian field

Athlete: Zara Phillips is known for her prowess in the equestrian field

He said: ‘I drove home, collected the
lorry, drove back to Cheltenham, picked up the Dude and took him back to
the yard. It was past one in the morning before we were done.’

Scudamore admits he didn’t have high hopes for the horse at the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow two weeks ago.

‘I just felt the ground would be too soft, that the course was too demanding and the opposition too experienced,’ he said.

After the success, Dude is believed to be worth 200,000 but Tindall and his friends insist they have no plans to sell him.

Tindall said: ‘Zara will take Monbeg Dude over showjumping poles at home and improve his technique.’

His next racing outing could be at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Tindall said: ‘The soft ground and the undulating course suits Dude well.’

He added: ‘The whole thing is ridiculous. We’re beginning to dream that we might one day do even better than the Welsh Grand National.

‘And it’s all because people didn’t turn up to a sales night and I took their place with no plans to end the evening as an owner with a horse I knew nothing about, or even saw. You couldn’t make it up, could you’ he laughed.

Happy couple: Zara Phillips called her husband an idiot for buying a racehorse without knowing anything it, but now has to eat her words

Happy couple: Zara Phillips called her husband Mike Tindall an idiot for buying a
racehorse without knowing anything it, but now has to eat her words

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

PUBLISHED:

16:02 GMT, 12 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Rigadin De Beauchene (5-1) put the icing on the cake of what has been a bountiful start to the month for trainer Venetia Williams when getting up in the shadow of the post to deny Godsmejudge and the gallant Pete The Feat in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.

The eight-year-old put his jumping issues behind him under a determined Robbie Dunne to pull the race out of the fire after he was seemingly booked for third at the second-last fence.

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

Dunne intentionally steered a wide
course on Rigadin De Beauchene in the straight, a ploy that paid off as
the combination reeled in the battling leaders with 50 yards to travel
to win by half a length.

Williams said: 'Robbie swept wide
into the straight and managed to get the horse to meet the last fence on
a good stride which I think was very important.

'His owner Andrew Wiles hopes he may
emulate his half-brother Miko De Beauchene and win the Welsh National
next season. I think Andrew might have reservations about him going for
the Grand National itself though. He's had issues with his jumping.'

Williams said she was encouraged
about a good run from her gelding after the horse that beat him in the
mud at Lingfield went on to land the Sussex National.

Dunne said: 'We were going a good
gallop when he made a mistake down the back and he also got in tight to a
couple. But overall he jumped much better today, having had a
confidence-booster at Lingfield.'

Noel Fehily was proud of the gallant Pete The Feat whose unbeaten run of five this season was finally broken back in third.

He said: 'It was another very good run. He's jumped from fence to fence and galloped to the line.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies can be forgiven if he starts getting excited about The New One (1-2 favourite) who routed the opposition in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

So far the only defeat he has
suffered in his career came in the Festival Bumper where he was sixth
but nothing in this Grade Two could live with him.

His jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: 'The sky is the limit.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: 'He seems
to have so much speed and staying power and it's a shame we haven't
really learned anything, as some of the others didn't go in the ground
and he wasn't tested.

'He won but we still don't know
enough about him and that encourages me to look at the programme book
and find another two-and-a-half-miler for him in order to give him some
more experience.'

Sarah Such, joint-owner of the winner,
was out of breath after cheering The New One home and exclaimed:
'Amazing. I can't breath he is absolutely wonderful, a really special
horse.'

Team Twiston-Davies also took the concluding bumper with Pure Science (5-1), a nine-length winner.

Rocky Creek boosted his claims for the RSA Chase and was cut to 12-1 from 20s for that Cheltenham Festival contest after flooring Highland Lodge in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices' Chase.

Paddy Power were impressed with the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old after he readily brushed aside Highland Lodge in the home straight of the three-mile contest to leave that rival exhausted on the run-in.

The pair had taken each other on at the last three of the fences down the back stretch with Rocky Creek nudging into the lead under a confident Daryl Jacob before the second last.

At this point the 7-4 chance jumped to the front where Tour Des Champs fell and brought down the weakening Forgotten Gold. Rocky Creek then forged steadily clear of Highland Lodge, who stopped to a walk on the flat and was caught by 16-1 shot Fill The Power for second.

Jacob believes the winner could be a factor in the RSA given the right underfoot conditions.

He said: 'I had the favourite covered and just wanted him to give me a lead into the straight before pressing on.

'He's a horse for the future and will be a truly super chaser in time. He's a possible Cheltenham horse for sure providing the ground there isn't too quick.'

Ely Brown booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival when avenging his 2012 defeat in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.

Second to Thehillofuisneach here 12 months ago, Charlie Longsdon's charge travelled well and readily outstayed Holywell and Hada Men by a length and a quarter and four under Noel Fehily.

According to his trainer, Ely Brown needed to win today in order to guarantee a run in the Final at Cheltenham in March.

Longsdon said: 'I said to Noel he had to win again if he was going to get to Cheltenham and after this he certainly deserves to take his chance.

'If he goes up 5lb it will be his ticket booked. He was second here last year and when I looked down today's field I thought it was quite a lot tougher.

'He had a hard race at Aintree. We gave him plenty of time to recover from that and he was pinging after his last outing at Haydock.'

Rody (11-2) earned glowing praise from his pilot Paddy Brennan who described the Tom George-trained gelding as 'as good a jumper as you could possibly wish to see' following his resounding success in the Betfred 'The Bonus King' Handicap Chase.

Giving weight to all seven of his rivals in the two-mile contest, Rody made it three wins from his last four starts as he continually made ground on Eastlake at his fences.

Brennan sent him on rounding the home bend and the combination pulled eight lengths clear, with Kapga De Cerisy a neck back in third. The winner is owned by Tony Dalton and Jennifer Laing who both work for Saatchi and Saatchi.

Laing said: 'He's a happy horse who really likes being at the racecourse. He wasn't as good over hurdles because he used to brush through them, but he gives the fences more respect.'

Brennan added: 'It's his jumping that wins him his races, I've been very impressed with him.'

Flaming Charmer caused a minor shock in the opener, posting a 14-1 triumph for owners Chasing Gold, trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Brendan Powell.

The five-year-old proved too strong for Thunder Sheikh to deny Timmy Murphy a winner on his first ride back from injury in the Betfred Goals Galore Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

On ground described as soft by the winning jockey, Flaming Charmer outstayed his foes and Powell said: 'He's a nice horse for the future and I think he'll stay further.'

Tom Chadney, spokeman for Chasing Gold, said: 'The reason I bought him was because his dam is Kates Charm who won the Cleeve Hurdle and was a very good mare for Robert Alner.

'We have nine horses spread around the country with seven trainers. It enables our members to watch the horses run wherever they are based.'

Long Run holds off Captain Chris to win King George chase

Long Run holds off Captain Chris to take victory at King George VI Chase

PUBLISHED:

15:39 GMT, 26 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

15:50 GMT, 26 December 2012

Long Run got up in the final strides to collar Captain Chris and regain his crown in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Captain Chris looked like going two better places than last year when he came through to head the winner of two years ago, who was also the runner-up 12 months ago.

However, Long Run, the 15-8 favourite trained by Nicky Henderson, rallied for amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, to get back up and score by a neck.


Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

The winning rider said: 'He was so brave. I had to keep asking him – I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave.

'This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us.
'That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege.'

Long Run is owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert, who added: 'He's come here four times now and won three Grade Ones and been second to Kauto Star.

'I wasn't absolutely sure that we had got back up but as I came down the stairs from the stand, I saw his name go up and that was fantastic.'

Henderson was similarly thrilled to see his former Cheltenham Gold Cup victor return to winning form.

He said: 'It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make.

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

'It was a battle out there today and not the best ground for any of them. He's young but has been doing everything right.

'You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he's been running good races all the time.'

Henderson continued: 'We had it in our minds that Bobs Worth would run in the Cheltenham race in January (Argento Chase), leaving Long Run free to run in the Denman (Aon) Chase at Newbury, but we'll have to discuss things with connections.

'I'd love to see Long Run back on better ground and I'm so pleased Sam and the horse have proved a point to people today.'

Jockey Richard Johnson said of the runner-up: 'I thought coming to the last I was going to win, but the other horse is a proven Gold Cup winner and he's just outstayed me.

'It was a great run and I'm just looking forward to riding him on better ground.'

Scudamore said of third-placed Grands Crus: 'He ran a great race and I'm most pleased he looks a lot more like his old self.'

David Pipe’s exciting grey, meanwhile, blew his rivals away to score by an eased-down nine lengths but that doesn’t come close to accurately describing his superiority over his rivals.

Sent of an 8-13 favourite, Tom Scudamore never had a moment’s worry and a soaring leap four-out sent Dynaste to the front before stretching clear in effortless style.

The six-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts over fences and he is following the same route as stablemate Grands Crus who won this race 12 months ago before being sent off a short price favourite for the RSA Chase.

And Darlan is the new Champion Hurdle favourite after sprinting to a four-and-a-half length victory in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton under Tony McCoy.

The John McManus-owned five-year-old had, who was 3-1 for this seasonal reappearance, made it three Christmas Hurdle wins on the bounce for connections after Binocular’s wins in the last two runnings of the two mile contest, and he is now a 4-1 chance for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.

Darlan finished behind Cinders And Ashes in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but Nicky Henderson’s charge comfortably revered that form as well as seeing off disappointing favourite Countrywide Flame who was such an impressive winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last time.

Raya Star came home in second while Dodging Bullets finished third.

FA Youth Cup fourth-round draw: Chelsea to play Charlton

FA Youth Cup fourth-round draw: Holders Chelsea face Charlton

|

UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 14 December 2012

Holders Chelsea face a tough trip to London rivals Charlton in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

The Blues beat Colchester United 3-2 to kick-start their defence last week while Charlton were impressive 1-0 winners at Molineux, where they eliminated Wolves on Wednesday.

Manchester City, meanwhile, will be hoping to avoid an upset when they host near North-West neighbours Burnley.

The Clarets knocked out Manchester United in the third round and will be hoping to book their place in the fifth round with victory at Ewen Fields next month.

Reward: Charlton will take on Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup

Reward: Charlton will take on Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup

Three-times winners West Ham could take on arch-rivals Tottenham after beating Aldershot 3-1 in the third round. Spurs must get past Cheltenham Town first, however.

There could be another potential London derby in store as Arsenal await either Fulham or Middlesbrough.

Elsewhere, a trip to Bradford is the incentive for Histon or Liverpool, Leeds play Burton, Norwich play Millwall and Reading entertain Bolton.

FA YOUTH CUP FOURTH-ROUND DRAW

Crystal Palace or Port Vale v Everton
Norwich City v Millwall
Oxford United or Barnsley v Stevenage
Reading v Bolton Wanderers
Derby County v Ipswich Town
West Ham United v Cheltenham Town or Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town
Arsenal v Fulham or Middlesbrough
Manchester City v Burnley
Bradford City or Histon v Liverpool
Charlton Athletic v Chelsea
Northampton Town v Hull City or Swansea City
Birmingham City v Coventry City or Bristol Rovers
Leicester City v Peterborough United or Aston Villa
Leeds United v Burton Albion
Nottingham Forest v Rochdale or Crewe Alexandra

All ties to be played by Saturday, January 19

Sprinter Sacre wins Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown

Sprinter Sacre storms to Tingle Creek Chase victory at Sandown on seasonal debut

PUBLISHED:

16:02 GMT, 8 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 8 December 2012

Sprinter Sacre ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on his seasonal bow at Sandown.

Nicky Henderson's charge arrived unbeaten in five chase starts last term and he extended that run to six in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Deeply impressive: Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty jump the last

Deeply impressive: Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty jump the last

Assuming control from the Pond Fence, the 4-11 favourite accelerated away to claim the Grade One prize by 15 lengths.

Sprinter Sacre ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on his seasonal bow at Sandown.

Nicky Henderson's charge arrived
unbeaten in five chase starts last term and he extended that run to six
in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Assuming control from the Pond Fence, the 4-11 favourite accelerated away to claim the Grade One prize by 15 lengths.

Henderson said: 'He has got the 'wow'
factor. It's been a long time since Aintree and I admit to being
petrified about Sanctuaire.

All too easy: Barry Geraghty takes a peek over his shoulder

All too easy: Barry Geraghty takes a peek over his shoulder

'I knew that horse had got pace and
would put it into the race which would stretch anybody and it was as
soft as our fellow would ever want to go on. “He's just class isn't he

'I knew that I had something a bit special and I just wanted it to stay that way.

'That's as good a two-mile chase as you'll ever see.

'He will probably go for the Victor
Chandler and Cheltenham, I don't know for sure, but there aren't that
many options and then on to Aintree or Punchestown.'

Sprinter scores: Barry Geraghty shows his delight after Tingle Creek success

Sprinter scores: Barry Geraghty shows his delight after Tingle Creek success

Geraghty partnered Moscow Flyer to
win 10 Grade One chases, including two Queen Mother Champion Chases, and
he believes Sprinter Sacre compares favourably.

He added: 'He's the closest I have ridden to Moscow. Time will tell (if he will be as good) but he's going the right way. “He's the most natural I have ever ridden and so far, so good.'

All smiles: Geraghty (right) and trainer Nicky Henderson

All smiles: Geraghty (right) and trainer Nicky Henderson

Vote for Sanctuaire as big Nicholls hope for Sandown has the X Factor

Vote for Sanctuaire as big Nicholls hope for Sandown has the X Factor

|

UPDATED:

20:18 GMT, 7 December 2012

The people at ITV will have you
believe that all this weekend's fireworks are reserved for the X Factor
final but, for National Hunt fans, there are two explosive chasers at
Sandown today for whom that description fits adroitly.

Both Sprinter Sacre and SANCTUAIRE
(Sandown, 3.05) boast the star quality that X Factor finalists can only
dream of, although the progression through the series of favourite James
Arthur does in a way mirror that of Sanctuaire.

tale of the tingle tape

Peter Scudamore's view

The Tingle Creek Chase provides the clash between Sanctuaire and Sprinter Sacre that we’ve been waiting for since the Spring and, with both unbeaten over fences, something has to give. My worry is the ground is going to play a part. Jockey Peter Buchanan, who landed the big race yesterday on Bold Sir Brian, described conditions on Sandown’s chase course as ‘hard-work ground’.

The big two have both had breathing operations in the past. You can never be totally confident how they will react in arduous going.
I’d also be concerned that the ground will negate the immense jumping of Sprinter Sacre. He is a horse with natural spring in his legs. His technique last year was outstanding and some of his leaps spectacular.

His defeat of Cue Card at the Cheltenham Festival was a piece of form to drool over. He has already shown the potential to be not only the most exciting steeplechaser in training but also the best pound for pound across the distance spectrum. Despite my concerns I can’t desert the Nicky Henderson-trained favourite.

A troubled soul at the start of the
series, the talented Arthur has prospered due to a strict regime of
rehearsal and training and much the same can be said of the headstrong
Sanctuaire

It is only in the past 12 months that trainer Paul Nicholls and his team has managed to resolve the physical and mental issues that were stopping his charge from ascending the chasing tree.

The result has been three unblemished chasing victories by an aggregate margin of 74 lengths, two of which were achieved at today's venue.

It is those front-running demolitions that Sanctuaire's supporters will put their faith in as he bids to see off the imposing claims of Sprinter Sacre.

Nicky Henderson's hot favourite is yet to taste defeat over fences.

A six-length defeat of Cue Card in the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival looks all the more creditable given the runner-up's subsequent efforts.

However, Sanctuaire's experience of the tricky Sandown fences could prove decisive in springing a mini surprise.