©Healy Racing Photos
Nicky Henderson reports Sprinter Sacre to be firmly on target for the sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 8.
The brilliant and unbeaten chaser was forced to miss his intended seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham on Sunday because of the testing ground and now heads for a mouthwatering clash with Sanctuaire at the Esher track.
Henderson said "There is no denying that the Sportingbet Tingle Creek will be a whole new ball game for Sprinter Sacre. Not only will he be faced with a natural pace-maker in Sanctuaire, but also an extremely good horse. Sanctuaire poses a big challenge to Sprinter Sacre. It is going to be an extremely interesting race."
The two day Tingle Creek Christmas Festival (December 7 and 8) looks to be one of the most eagerly anticipated race meetings of the jump season so far.
Saturday's card has been enhanced with the addition of a new and 7th race - the Anne Boleyn Mares Handicap Hurdle worth £15,000 and run over 2 miles 4 furlongs.
Another new addition to the meeting is the Coldunell Amateur Jockeys Association Amateur Riders Handicap Steeple Chase (for the John Dunston Memorial Cup) which takes place on the Friday over three miles and is worth £13,000, making it Sandown Park's most valuable Amateur contest.
The race will be run in memory of John Dunston, the late father of leading amateur jockey David Dunston, who was a local man and a great supporter of amateur racing.
While all the action is happening on the racecourse, Sandown Park is putting on plenty of entertainment to keep the kids amused throughout Saturday afternoon. Pantomimes will take place in the Esher Hall, free of charge, and there will be a chance to meet one of the country's most prolific children's authors, Ian Whybrow, who is responsible for the hugely popular 'Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs' stories.
The Esher Hall also becomes the perfect 'one stop' Christmas shop with the Hi Life Christmas Show - the perfect opportunity to buy presents, decorations and treats for the family.
Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper described the current ground conditions as good, good to soft in places on the chase course and good to soft, soft in places on the hurdle course, but with at least two appreciable spells of rain due this week.