Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton: Sprinter Sacre’s unbeaten run ended amid heart scare
Saturday 28 December 2013
Sprinter Sacre started the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton yesterday unbeaten in 10 chases and all but lionised as the Frankel of jumping; three-fifths of the way through the contest he had given up the struggle, not as some equine Graeme Swann but a fallen idol whose spirit was willing but flesh proved all too weak.
The seven-year-old’s rider, Barry Geraghty, who had shared all his triumphs over fences, pulled him up almost as he landed after the seventh. Sprinter Sacre had put in a prodigious leap two fences earlier to move into second in the six-runner field behind the front-running Fago, but had yielded that place to his main rival Sire De Grugy by the seventh. Geraghty remained on board as he trotted back, allaying initial fears that his mount had broken down. In post-race tests vets found an irregular heartbeat.
Nicky Henderson, Sprinter Sacre’s trainer, said in the immediate aftermath of the calamity: “He landed on the back of the fence and Barry said he was empty. He was looking great, he jumped the first very well and his work was unbelievable.”
With his charge continuing to display the heart irregularity, Henderson later resolved to take him home to Lambourn before sending him to medical facilities in Newmarket for fuller tests today. “We were thinking of taking him to Newmarket straight away but I think the horse has had a lot of stress today and I’d rather take him home tonight,” the trainer explained.
Denman, the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, provides an example of recovery from such a case of atrial fibrillation to compete with the best, but never regained his air of invulnerability and that is what Sprinter Sacre also lost in an instant yesterday.
Sire De Grugy, who won Sandown’s Grade One Tingle Creek Chase at the start of this month (when Sprinter Sacre was an absentee after unsatisfactory medical tests), was not hard pressed to beat Oiseau De Nuit by four lengths in this Grade Two race. With the winner quite likely to bypass the Cheltenham Festival, betting on the Champion Chase was all but suspended last night.
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germay in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Why is it that there’s no women’s team at Manchester United? - Michael Calvin
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...