Sprinter Sacre should not be opposed

FIREWORKS are anticipated at Sandown, where Sprinter Sacre has Hollywood appeal in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase.

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Sanctuaire will have plenty of value-seeking supporters – he has looked fast and fabulous in three tries over fences last term – but Nicky Henderson's six-year-old is a different gravy.

His wins in the Arkle and the Maghull drew the breath away, while Sandown's galloping circuit looks an ideal place at which to make his seasonal debut.

Although he missed a pipe-opener at Cheltenham due to ground conditions, Sprinter Sacre won at Doncaster last year after an age off the track and will not be lacking for fitness.

With the Arkle form now looking watertight, it is difficult to identify any chinks in the armour of a horse who has not yet reached his full capacity.

A good day for Henderson can herald Captain Conan's coming of age in the Markel Insurance Henry VIII Novices' Chase.

The five-year-old gelding did very well over hurdles, having signed off with a second-placed finish to Darlan in an Aintree Grade Two, but always had the look of a chaser.

That certainly appeared the case at Cheltenham's Open meeting when he jumped crisply from the outset in a Grade Two over two miles to defeat subsequent winner Sire De Grugy by a couple of lengths.

With Overturn unlikely to have it all his own way, as he did on his chasing debut here in November, the stage could be set for Captain Conan to boost his Arkle claims.

Meanwhile, at Aintree, West End Rocker has a fine chance of registering consecutive victories in the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree.

Trained in Wiltshire by Alan King, this well-built 10-year-old jumped beautifully in last year's renewal before pulling 22 lengths clear at the line.

Things have not gone to plan since then, but he is just 5lb higher upon his return to Merseyside and looks an appealing prospect to bring home the double.


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