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Sprinter Sacre - Kempton 27.12.13

Sprinter Sacre before being pulled up in Friday's Desert Orchid Chase

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Tests confirm Sacre has an irregular heartbeat

NEWMARKET-based heart specialist Celia Marr confirmed on Saturday that Sprinter Sacre is suffering from an irregular heartbeat.

Her diagnosis matched the initial thoughts of racecourse vets who examined the Nicky Henderson-trained superstar after he was pulled up with five fences still to jump in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Friday.

"Sprinter Sacre's heartbeat is still irregular and they are still monitoring it," Henderson said at Leopardstown. "The vet wants to continue monitoring for another 24 hours. She says it's a very similar situation to Denman and that it is typical of big horses with a big heart."

Before Friday's shocking events, Sprinter Sacre was unbeaten in ten races and over two years, during which the closest any horse came to matching him was Ryanair winner Cue Card, who went down by four and a half lengths in the Melling Chase at Aintree in April.

Widely acknowledged as the finest chaser in training, Sprinter Sacre has cemented his reputation as a modern great with two victories at the Cheltenham Festival.

In 2012 he defeated Cue Card by seven lengths to win the Racing Post Arkle, before returning to Prestbury Park the following March to take the Champion Chase by an astonishing 19 lengths from Sizing Europe.

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