Sprinter Sacre will bid for a seventh straight win over fences at AscotPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sacre heads 13 Victor Chandler Chase entries
SPRINTER SACRE was the star name among 13 entries for the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase revealed on Wednesday but the brilliant Racing Post Arkle winner will not be challenged by his closest rivals in the Champion Chase market.
As short as 2-5 with sponsors sportingbet.com for the Champion Chase in March, Sprinter Sacre's presence seems to have impacted on the initial entries for Ascot's January 19 Grade 1, with Flemenstar, Sizing Europe and Sprinter Sacre's stablemate Finian's Rainbow - all single figure prices for the Champion Chase - missing from the list.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire, third to Sprinter Sacre in the Tingle Creek Chase last month before successful at Kempton over Christmas, again appears to offer the biggest challenge to Caroline Mould's unbeaten chaser.
Somersby, who got the better of a titanic dual with Finian's Rainbow in the race last year, could make his first start for Mick Channon in the 2m1f contest on what would be be his belated seasonal reappearance.
Kumbeshwar, runner-up in the Tingle Creek and second to Sanctuaire at Kempton last Thursday, has again been pitched in against his old rivals.
Despite the absence of Flemenstar and Sizing Europe, Ireland could still be represented courtesy of the Robbie Hennessy-trained Rubi Light and Sizing Europe's stablemate Days Hotel.
William's Wishes, a winner over the Victor Chandler course and distance on his first run for 664 days in November, and the David Pipe-trained duo of Dan Breen and His Excellency also feature.