Sanctuaire can become the first horse to defeat Sprinter Sacre over fences in this weekend’s Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, contrary to the heavy favouritism attributed to the latter.
With five wins from five, no foe has come close to the Nicky Henderson-schooled gelding in chases.
Paul Nicholls boasts an enviable track record in the Tingle Creek and, combined with the lightly-raced Sanctuaire’s potential, this pairing can be the one that knocks the mighty Sprinter Sacre off his lofty perch.
For starters, the six-year-old comes into the race having previously triumphed over course and distance which is more than you can say for Sprinter Sacre and, with two wins from two on soft going, he’s got one up on his adversary, who will also be making his maiden run at Sandown, in these conditions.
Sanctuaire has looked in the finest of fettles on his most recent outings, winning his last three races by a combined total of 74 lengths. This incredible effort includes a 17-length outrunning of the 166-rated Somersby to bring the curtain down on a glittering 2011/12 season.
This performance has seen his official rating rise to 166 for Tingle Creek and it means in the handicapper’s opinion he has just three lengths to find on Sprinter Sacre. To be rated almost equal to such a strong horse is a testament to how far Sanctuaire has come in a relatively short space of time and if he can rediscover his brilliant form from last term he can undoubtedly compete here.
Furthermore, Nicholls has winning the Tingle Creek down to a science so Sanctuaire couldn’t be in better hands as far as preparation is concerned.
Since 1999, the trainer has enjoyed eight victories in this race which, when coupled with Sanctuaire’s great talent, punters shouldn’t fear losing out on their 5/2 investment in opposing the highly-fancied Sprinter Sacre at Sandown.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date