Sprinter Sacre(Healy Racing Photos)
Sprinter Sacre will face eight rivals in the rearranged Victor Chandler Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday, which is subject to an 8am inspection on Friday. The star on show on Festival Trials Day is undoubtedly Nicky Henderson's Arkle winner, who is unbeaten over fences. The Grade One chase has been saved from Ascot's abandoned meeting last weekend. Bookmakers believe his main threat will come from the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire, but he was put in his place behind Sprinter Sacre in the Tingle Creek. On that occasion Sanctuaire faded in the straight and was passed for second by Alan King's Kumbeshwar, who is also back again. Nicholls' inmate gained his revenge at Kempton over Christmas, however, when he stretched 13 lengths clear of Kumbeshwar in the Desert Orchid Chase. Somersby won last year's Victor Chandler to give Henrietta Knight her final Grade One winner as a trainer, with Mick Channon now charged with training the nine-year-old. Evan Williams has decided to step William's Wishes, who has won all five of his races over fences, up in class, while Oiseau De Nuit represents Colin Tizzard. Mad Moose, Esteem and Kinkeel complete the field.
The Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in April is the long-term target for Raz De Maree following his two lucrative victories this winter.