RACING NEWS: Sprinter Sacre set for Kempton return

Sprinter Sacre in trainer Nicky Henderson's yard. Picture: John Walton/PA.
Sprinter Sacre in trainer Nicky Henderson's yard. Picture: John Walton/PA.
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THE Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27 is a possible starting point for superstar steeplechaser Sprinter Sacre.

Nicky Henderson was forced to abandon plans to run the superstar in the Tingle Creek at Sandown today due to the likely soft ground after he admitted such a test may come too soon in his rehabilitation.

It was in the corresponding Kempton race 12 months ago when the seemingly invincible chaser was pulled up with what was subsequently diagnosed to be a fibrillating heart.

Having now recovered from that ailment, Henderson is striving to get him back to full fitness and Sprinter Sacre galloped alongside 2013 Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth yesterday.

“He was really good this morning. He and Bobs Worth went a mile and a half,” said Henderson. “I was delighted with both of them. The Desert Orchid Chase is a possibility, but there is no rush.”

The former champion trainer has also said that Sprinter Sacre was recently given a clean bill of health by the vets who treated the heart ailment.

SUE SMITH believes Comeback Colin could represent her stable’s best chance of success at Wetherby today.

The six-year-old prospect drops back in trip to two-and-a-half miles, and High Eldwick-based Smith hopes this will play to the horse’s strengths.

Boosted by three winners in the past week, Smith told The Yorkshire Post: “He’s a nice horse. He started off at Uttoxeter and then finished third in quite a nice race at Market Rasen and Jonny England (jockey) felt he didn’t quite see out the trip of two miles, six and a bit furlongs.

“That’s why we’re dropping him back to two-and-a-half miles. Everything should be in in his favour.”

EDUARD is out to confirm the impression of his seasonal reappearance in tomorrow’s Betfred Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Trained by Nicky Richards, the six-year-old was an impressive winner at Ayr at the end of last season and was then runner-up to subsequent Hennessy hero Many Clouds at Carlisle.

“We’ve always thought the world of him and Carlisle was another step in the right direction,” said Richards. “He hasn’t got that much experience in the top races, even over hurdles.”

Tomorrow’s rivals include Sue Smith’s De Boitron who was second on his recent comeback at Haydock.

FORMER champion apprentice Martin Harley will ride as a freelance next season, relinquishing his role as stable jockey to Marco Botti.

While Botti has pledged to continue using the Irishman, who left a similar role with Mick Channon to join the Italian, there will be no official connection.

Harley recovered from a serious injury early in the year to ride three Group-race winners for Botti, with the highlight being Tac De Boistron’s repeat win in the Prix Royal-Oak.

Meanwhile, Boroughbridge rider Paul Mulrennan is riding in Mauritius this weekend after recording his 100th domestic win of the calendar year – a significant landmark for the freelance jockey.

YORK’S groundstaff have been officially recognised after they were first past the post at a national awards ceremony.

They were named by the Institute of Groundsmanship as winners of the John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year.

It rounds off a year that saw head gardener Zac Rafferty win a Gold award from Yorkshire In Bloom.

York chief executive William Derby said: “It’s been a busy year for the groundstaff, with some wonderful equine stars, 336,000 racegoers and the added excitement of starting the Tour de France. I’m delighted the efforts of Team York have been recognised.”