Trainer Nicky Henderson has given Sprinter Sacre the green light to make his seasonal reappearance in the williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27.
The current superstar of the National Hunt scene had been due to run in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 7, but the seven-year-old returned a dirty tracheal wash in the days leading up to that race and Henderson decided it was best not to risk him.
Given he only ran in Grade One races last season, many felt it would be the Sodexho Clarence House Chase (formerly the Victor Chandler) at Ascot on January 18 before racing fans would get to see him in action again.
However, in an early Christmas present to punters, the Seven Barrows handler has confirmed that Sprinter Sacre will run at Kempton, all being well.
Henderson told Press Association Sport: “Sprinter will go to Kempton, we’ve had a lot of people asking so we thought it best to let everybody know.
“The antibiotics he took cleared up his little problem he had before the Tingle Creek in no time at all.
“He worked very well on Saturday and again this morning and we scoped him yesterday and it was clean.
“As he missed his first target we were keen to give him a run and it still gives us three weeks until the Victor Chandler.”
Kempton's director of racing and clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: ``It's sensational news. It was obviously mentioned prior to the Tingle Creek and he won the Wayward Lad here a couple of years ago so the track clearly suits him.''
There had been speculation the race could be moved to the Boxing Day card in order to ensure coverage on Channel 4 Racing but it will remain in the original slot.
Clifford said: “The question was asked, and quite rightly so, but we have taken a lot of bookings as well as corporate hospitality packages and we decided that running the Desert Orchid on the 27th was the right thing to do in terms of our customers’ experience.”