©Healy Racing Photos
Paul Nicholls is looking forward to seeing Sanctuaire test his ability against the incredible Sprinter Sacre in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 8.
Having lost his way over hurdles, Sanctuaire began his career over fences earlier this year and was most impressive in winning each of his three starts.
He slammed the talented Somersby by 17 lengths in Sandown's Celebration Chase at the end of the campaign and he is now set for a return to Esher, where he is likely to find Sprinter Sacre lying in wait.
Nicholls told Sky Sports News: "He's an exciting two-mile chaser and he's off to the Tingle Creek now.
"He looks a lot stronger and he's only six. All the six-year-olds have improved enormously and if he follows what the rest of them have done he's going to be quite exciting."
Nicky Henderson's Sprinter Sacre is unbeaten in five starts over fences, including a stunning performance in the Arkle Trophy, and is set to return to action at Cheltenham on Sunday.
Nicholls, however, is not scared to take him on with his improving youngster next month.
"Sprinter Sacre is very good, very talented, but the handicapper only rates 3lb between them and that's not a lot," said the champion trainer.
"It will be interesting in the Tingle Creek.
"I'll take it race by race with him but he won't run too much.
"I suspect we'd give him one run somewhere (after the Tingle Creek) and aim for the Champion Chase.
"The Champion Chase track at Cheltenham is on the Old Course, which I always think is the faster track, which will suit this horse."