Sprinter Among Victor Chandler Nine

Mon 14th Jan 2013, 13:37

Sprinter Sacre pictured winning at Aintree last year
©Healy Racing Photos
Sprinter Sacre is one of nine confirmations for the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old is unbeaten in six starts over fences and was a brilliant winner of the Tingle Creek at Sandown on his seasonal reappearance in early December.

He is set to head for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March as a long odds-on favourite, provided there are no hiccups this weekend.

Sprinter Sacre would appear to face a relatively straightforward task, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire the second highest-rated horse in the field.

He was over 19 lengths behind Henderson's charge in the Tingle Creek and subsequently won the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Last year's Victor Chandler hero Somersby could return to defend his crown for what would be his first outing of the season and first start since joining trainer Mick Channon.

Wishfull Thinking remains an enigmatic character and a difficult horse to catch right, while the other entries - Idarah, Kinkeel, Kumbeshwar, Mad Moose and His Excellency - all have a mountain to climb on official figures.

The Robbie Hennessy trained Rubi Light has been ruled out of the contest due to a stone bruise while Henry De Bromhead's Days Hotel has also been taken out of the Grade 1 contest.

Will there be another Irish winner at Aintree?

A lot has been said recently about the fact that the Irish contingent at Cheltenham tend to stoke up the fires of Anglo-Irish needle with their flag waving and chest beating due to our incredible success in recent years. As pointed out previously, this is nothing more than a bit of harmless fun that some folk on both sides of the Irish Sea take a little too seriously.