Tearful Nicky Henderson says farewell to two stars at Cheltenham

Tearful Nicky Henderson says farewell to two stars at Cheltenham
Sprinter Sacre is paraded before The Shloer Steeple Chase Race. Photo: Julian Herbert/PA

Nicky Henderson has enjoyed many great times at Cheltenham but rarely will he, and his team, have gone through so much as on Sunday.

Just minutes after an adoring public celebrated the retirement of star chaser Sprinter Sacre, who paraded in the paddock and in front of the stands, stablemate Simonsig lost his life.

That came in the Shloer Chase when the dual Festival-winning grey suffered a fatal fall in a race won by Sprinter Sacre 12 months earlier.

Henderson said: "It (Sprinter Sacre's retirement) was not a funeral, but a celebration of life, but now we've got the funeral and the tears all of a sudden go the other way.

"It is not fair for the team more than anything."

Trainer Nicky Henderson watches as Sprinter Sacre is paraded before The Shloer Steeple Chase Race. Photo: Julian Herbert/PA
Trainer Nicky Henderson watches as Sprinter Sacre is paraded before The Shloer Steeple Chase Race. Photo: Julian Herbert/PA

Honours in the Shloer Chase went to Fox Norton (5-2) on his first start since joining trainer Colin Tizzard from Neil Mulholland.

Ridden by Aidan Coleman, the six-year-old stormed home by nine lengths from Special Tiara.

Tizzard said: "The Tingle Creek (Sandown) is where they normally go, horses like him, so that's what we'll do."

North Hill Harvey (6-1) overcame a 219-day absence when he fended off a strong cast in the stanjames.com Greatwood Handicap Hurdle for brothers Dan and Harry Skelton.

The former, who trains the five-year-old, said: "I'll probably look at coming back here in December for the International.

"We'll be adventurous this year and go down the Champion Hurdle trial route, and things like that, but the Champion Hurdle is probably way at the back of our consideration as he's a chaser in the making."

David Pipe will give Moon Racer (9-4) an entry in the Champion Hurdle after he convincingly upheld form with Ballyandy in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle.

Pipe said: "The Supreme is the number one target. He'll also have an entry in the Champion Hurdle. Why not?"

Jonjo O'Neill won the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday for a third time - but not with the horse many had expected.

Whereas the favourite More Of That faltered, stablemate Taquin Du Seuil stole the show under Aidan Coleman as the partnership got up by a neck from valiant front-runner Village Vic.

O'Neill said of the 8-1 winner: "Turning for home I thought he was in trouble, but he did keep galloping.

"He loves this place, which also helps."

On More Of That, the Jackdaws Castle handler added: "He had been going great at home but he was beaten a long way out."

All eyes were earlier on Colin Tizzard's great hope Thistlecrack (1-7 favourite) in the mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase and, despite some hairy leaps on the first circuit, he coasted to victory under Tom Scudamore.

Tizzard said: "At the moment, he's a novice chaser and so we'll have another run and then decide his next target."

Connections suggested on Sunday that he was more likely to run in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day rather than in the 32Red King George VI Chase.

More in this Section

Queensland Reds snap seven-year losing streak as rugby returns in AustraliaQueensland Reds snap seven-year losing streak as rugby returns in Australia

Connacht sign Alex Wootton from Munster on season-long loanConnacht sign Alex Wootton from Munster on season-long loan

Jose Mourinho on Spurs defeat: 'I now know more about the profile of my players'Jose Mourinho on Spurs defeat: 'I now know more about the profile of my players'

The sky is the limit for Mason Greenwood – Ole Gunnar SolskjaerThe sky is the limit for Mason Greenwood – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer


Lifestyle

Ciara McDonnell chats with four women who’ve decided to embrace their natural hair colour after time away from the salonBack to my roots: Four women who've decided to embrace their natural hair colour

Eve Kelliher makes the French connection by visiting Les Jardins d’Étretat.So is this the garden of the future?

Connacht, perhaps more than anywhere else on our island, is the quintessential Ireland of postcards and tourist brochures.Staycations 2020: Create your own memories with the glories of Connacht

Des O'Driscoll has your telly picks for tonight.Friday's TV Highlights: Love/Hate and John Wick mean an action packed night on the telly

More From The Irish Examiner