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Sanctuaire - 2.40 Taunton 31.01.2012

Sanctuaire: around the 8-1 mark for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Nicholls excited by stronger Sanctuaire

CHAMPION trainer Paul Nicholls is looking forward to Sanctuaire taking on Racing Post Arkle winner Sprinter Sacre in next month's Tingle Creek, saying his exciting six-year-old has improved over the summer.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Sprinter Sacre gears up for Sandown's Grade 1 on December 8 by running in Cheltenham's Shloer Chase on Sunday, but Sanctuaire will head straight there.

He ended last season with a stunning 17-length in the Celebration Chase at the track and Nicholls said: "He's an exciting two-mile chaser who starts off in the Tingle Creek. He looks stronger this season as well.

"Sprinter Sacre's very good and very talented, but the handicapper has only 3lb between them [169-166] and that's not a lot - the Tingle Creek will be interesting."

Nicholls, who was speaking to Sky Sports News on Wednesday morning, is aiming Sanctuaire at the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The Jared Sullivan-owned gelding is available at 8-1 for that, while Sprinter Sacre is the general even-money favourite.

"The Champion Chase is on the old track at Cheltenham, which I think is always the faster track," added Nicholls. "That will suit him."

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