Sprinter Sacre makes it look easy

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The Independent Online

It looked likely to be a stroll and so it proved. Sprinter Sacre made light of the heavy ground at Cheltenham to score a comfortable victory in the Victor Chandler Chase, which had been salvaged from the Ascot meeting last week.

Jockey Barry Geraghty almost ran out of words to praise Nicky Henderson's charge. "I was afraid of the ground and didn't think it would suit him as well. He was very relaxed today, he jumped brilliant and I never had a moment's concern. He was very good."

Henderson did have his concerns, though. "I'm glad it's over," he said "I had reservations about running. Barry was worried about the ground, I was worried he was a bit fresh. He can handle any ground."

And any challengers, it seems. Mad Moose, a 50-1 shot under Sam Twiston- Davies, got within 14 lengths.

Next stop the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March for Sprinter Sacre.

It was all rather different in the Argento Chase, where Cape Tribulation held on by half a length to deny Imperial Commander victory in his first outing for 22 months.

Gruelling barely covers the three mile-plus slog, with only four of the 10 runners finishing and the third-placed Hunt Ball 36 lengths adrift. Tidal Bay did not go.

Cape's trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, with another second place to follow Mad Moose, praised Imperial Commander. "You'd have to be delighted. It's been so difficult getting him back with his splint problems but we have kept him swimming. There are six weeks to the Gold Cup and that is plenty of time."

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