Sprinter Sacre: made it a perfect ten over fences with Punchestown winPICTURE: Getty Images
Perfect ten over fences for sublime Sprinter Sacre
Report: Punchestown, Tuesday
Boylesports.com Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2m, 5yo+
SEVEN years to the day since he came into the world, Sprinter Sacre made it a perfect ten from ten over fences as he added a Punchestown Grade 1 title to the ones he has bagged at Cheltenham and Aintree in the past 41 days.
As was the case on the first of those two occasions, it was Sizing Europe who gave the chasing superstar most to worry about. However, whereas at Cheltenham Sprinter Sacre handed out a convincing beating to the former Champion Chase winner by 19 lengths, he was made to work a bit harder this time around.
Crossing the line the 1-9 favourite was five and a half lengths clear of Sizing Europe and although this was a length further than he beat Cue Card by at Aintree, Nicky Henderson's stable star was not as impressive as we have become accustomed to.
Barry Geraghty had been happy to sit behind the front-running Sizing Europe until the penultimate fence where racing fans had anticipated seeing fireworks from the red-hot favourite.
Although an explosive turn of foot failed to materialise, it would be foolish to say that it looked like his colours might be lowered.
Geraghty, who has ridden Sprinter Sacre in all his starts over fences bar his debut, was aware that this performance was not going to be as sensational as some in his recent past.
"I knew from four out it was not going to be easy," he said. "They went a good gallop, it was a good test of stamina and he doesn't lack in that department but he didn't land racing as well at the second last."
The appreciative crowd were delighted to have had the opportunity to see Sprinter Sacre in the flesh at the climax to what has been a sensational season for him. Of the response he received in the winner's enclosure, Geraghty said: "It is the best that I have ever had. To see people appreciate a horse so much, it was brilliant. It was amazing."
Henderson added: "On good ground he's spectacular, but you can't do it on this ground.
"It's very hard to do the three festivals, but we wanted to come to Ireland and I'm just relieved and delighted it's worked out".
Sprinter Sacre is now as short as 1-5 with Ladbrokes to successfully defend his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next year and just 6-4 with William Hill to pick up the King George over Christmas on the way.