Sacre not certain for Sandown

Nicky Henderson has yet to make a final decision on whether Sprinter Sacre will make his eagerly-awaited return to action in the 888sport Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 6.

The 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.

That was rectified some time ago, but Henderson is hanging fire on the green light for Sandown, in a race he won with ease in 2012. He said: “We’re reasonably close, we’ve just got to see. I’ll know by Tuesday or Wednesday where we are. It doesn’t even mean he can’t do a racecourse gallop this week if we get the all-clear. He’s had his all-clear from Newmarket (equine specialists) and everything is tickety boo.”

The Seven Barrows trainer had a disappointing afternoon at Kempton on Monday, seeing three odds-on favourites beaten, although he did manage a winner on the card through Theinval in the concluding event.

“We’re just a bit behind,” he said, while stressing there was nothing wrong with the well-being of his string.

Meanwhile Mags Mullins hopes Martello Tower has escaped serious injury after his fall in the Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

The Barry Connell owned six-year-old still held every chance in the Grade Two event when he came to grief at the second-last.

It was only the second defeat of his career but a tilt at the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle is now up in the air.

Mullins said: “He is stiff and sore. I think everything is OK with him but he got a fair slap and we just walked him around this morning. For the first few days you are never quite sure, but at the moment the vets have looked at him and we are happy enough.

“He is a tough and unassuming horse and hopefully he will be OK. He has a couple of superficial cuts. We will know more in the next few days, but I think we are winning.

“He was running a great race up until then. He is an idler and it is only when you get after him that he starts to go. The other horse won fair and square and well done to them. You have to jump and unfortunately we didn’t.”


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