Sacre ‘not quite ready’ for Sandown

Sprinter Sacre will not make his return to action in the 888sport Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday week.

Nicky Henderson’s superstar two-miler has not run since being pulled up by Barry Geraghty in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last Christmas, after which he was diagnosed with a heart problem, which has since been rectified.

Speaking at Newbury, the Seven Barrows trainer said: “With everything that is going on and the ground as much as anything, he’s not quite really there, so he won’t go Tingle Creeking. He will be strutting away at home and he’s fine, but he’s not quite ready.

“We went to Newmarket (to see Celia Marr, equine specialist) and came back with a clean bill of health from there and we are working away, but we are not quite ready.”

Sprinter Sacre won the Tingle Creek in 2012, having earlier that year landed the Arkle at Cheltenham, where he returned the following March to claim the Queen Mother Champion Chase in devastating fashion.

Forced to miss his bid for a championship double in March, his last success came two runs ago at Punchestown in April 2013.

Henderson went on: “`It leaves you kind of empty for the time being, but I would rather buy the time.

“He did two canters this morning and will do two tomorrow and we might decide to do a bit more with him on Saturday.

“He’s not quite ready and he’s got to be 100 per cent when he goes to a racecourse and where do you do? Kempton (Desert Orchid Chase) was one of the places I wanted to avoid going to, after what happened to him last year.

“The one good thing was he had a four-day full MOT at Newmarket and everything is tickety-boo.”

Henderson has also ruled stablemate Simonsig out of his comeback, which had been pencilled in for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon the day after Sandown.

The grey has been on the sidelines since winning the Arkle in 2013, having won the Neptune at the Festival 12 months earlier.

Henderson said: “He (Sprinter Sacre) needs to be at his best, which is where we also need to be with his other old mate Simonsig, and he’s not going to quite make it either.”

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