Sprinter Sacre Puts in Champion Effort
1 Sprinter Sacre 1/9F
Sprinter Sacre stretched his unbeaten record over fences to 10 with a commanding victory in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown.
Nicky Henderson's superstar, sent off the 1-9 favourite, was made to work harder than usual as admirable veteran Sizing Europe set out to make all under Andrew Lynch and refused to give in when challenged for the lead at the second-last fence.
Sprinter Sacre, who travelled well throughout, held the advantage at the last and then responded well to Barry Geraghty's urgings to clear away for victory by five and a half lengths in front of an appreciative crowd.
Henderson said: "Job done. He was at his best at Cheltenham, he wasn't quite as sharp at Aintree and wasn't as sharp today.
"Even if you go into what you think is an easy race, the atmosphere and the crowds are still going to take it out of you. To do all three (Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown) is very, very hard and he's had to work harder today than he has in the past.
"He didn't do anything wrong. He was clean and confident and fair play to Sizing Europe, who ran a hell of a race. I'd imagine he'll do the same next season."
Geraghty added: "Sizing Europe put it up to us today and I had to work hard. Heavy ground probably doesn't suit my lad as well and from four out it wasn't as easy. It was still a good performance."
Henry de Bromhead was rightly proud of Sizing Europe's terrific performance in defeat.
The trainer said: "He was superb. I said to Andrew to go and throw the kitchen sink at your man (Sprinter Sacre) and we got him off the bridle, but he's an incredible horse. At least we saw Barry having to push him out today."
BOYLESPORTS.COM CHAMPION CHASE (Grade 1)
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