Author: Darren Moore
Published: 02:14 27/12/2015
Boxing Day provided its usual top class heroics and drama at Kempton Park yesterday and the action rolls on today, as SPRINTER SACRE and Sire De Grugy locks horns to form the feature heat of the day in the Williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase at 2pm at the Sunbury track. All jokes and emotion aside, if there’s one thing the jumps season and jumping fans in general need today, it is Sprinter Sacre to follow up his imperious Cheltenham win last time out with another one here; just to prove he is definitely back to his best.
Champions like him hold a certain allure and carry an aura, but it was all but gone with Sprinter Sacre until he returned this season, following a year or so firmly in the shadows of his former self. Much like Cue Card this season compared to last, much like Kauto Star and Denman in days gone by, the absolute greats of this sport and indeed any sport often have a spell of uncertainty; where they are truly tested. Sprinter Sacre looked for all the world as if he had left that stage behind him when sauntering effortlessly to success at Prestbury Park at the Open meeting and if he can maintain that level of brilliance and show it today, there will surely only be one outcome.
Sire De Grugy was a popular and deserving winner of the Tingle Creek at Sandown Park earlier this month, but the earlier novice chase won by his stablemate was run in a faster time and with his form being a bit unpredictable from race to race, you have to question what Sire De Grugy we’ll see. Vibrato Valtat and Somersby provide decent opposition but SPRINTER SACRE should win this and win it impressively. That’s what we all want to see.
The 1.45pm Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novices’ Hurdle at Leopardstown has ten genuinely exciting prospects going to post and will provide LONG DOG with his sternest test to date, but the five-year-old son of Notnowcato has answered every call to date and can win six from his last six starts for trainer Willie Mullins, owner Rich Ricci and Ruby Walsh. Sure, he’s been on the go since July, but Mullins is nobody’s fool and has had no qualms about keeping this horse on the go through the winter. That Grade 1 Fairyhouse win at the end of November was a career best, proving he is still progressing and despite the strong field, he remains the benchmark novice until further notice.
2.00 Kempton - Sprinter Sacre, 4pts win, 8/13 (1.62) BetVictor
1.45 Leopardstown - Long Dog, 2pts win, 3/1 (4.0) BetVictor
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