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Published: 15:36 | 16/3/16

Sprinter Sacre storms to Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre bounced back in tremendous style to reclaim the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, three years after he first won the two-mile championship.

Nicky Henderson stormed to victory of the Champion Chase in 2013 but was unable to defend his crown 12 months later after being found to have am irregular heartbeat.

He encountered a number of problems over the past couple of seasons but he looked to be back to his best when he won the Desert Orchid Chase at Christmas to give connections hope that he could reclaim his Cheltenham crown.

Un De Sceaux was sent off the hot favourite and sat in behind Special Tiara, who set a frenetic gallop in the early stages. Indeed, the pace proved too much for Felix Yonger and Sizing Granite as both were forced out early on.

Ruby Walsh sent Un De Sceaux into the lead at the fourth last but Sprinter Sacre was going well for Nico de Boinville and coming down the hill it was clear that he would challenge the market leader for the honours.

Approaching the second last, Sprinter Sacre took it up and he quickened away, much to the delight of the Cheltenham crowd. With Un De Sceaux and Special Tiara unable to close the gap, the ten-year-old galloped away to claim a remarkable three-and-a-half-length win.

An emotional Henderson said: "It's been a long, long journey - those were two very, very grim years.

"That was unbelievable. That was about dreams, wasn't it? Dreams do actually happen and come alive.

"It's nice to have everybody on your side. I knew we had some supporters and it's fantastic.

"He has been a spectacular horse, but to come back and do that after all that time - everyone has done a fantastic job.

"There were some hard days, but it was certainly worth the effort.

"I said if he and Tent (My Tent Or Yours, second in Champion Hurdle) both won I'd retire, luckily Tent got beaten!

"He (Sprinter Sacre) has been a very special horse. For those two golden years he was unbeatable.

"I said he couldn't come back to his best, but maybe he has. He had to be as good as he ever was to do that."

De Boinville added: "I'm speechless about that, it means so much to us.

"For him to come back like that - all credit to the guv'nor, we had a couple of desperate years with him and nearly retried him.

"I knew I had to get upsides Un De Sceaux and see what he was made of.

"It's incredible and I'm flabbergasted."

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