Horse Racing - Sprinter Sacre secures Punchestown success

Sprinter Sacre secured his tenth chasing success in a row having fended off Sizing Europe on the opening day of the Punchestown meeting in Ireland.

Eurosport
Equestrian - Henderson easing Sprinter Sacre back to the big stage
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Barry Geraghty on Sprinter Sacre (Reuters)

Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old ridden by Barry Geraghty claimed the Champion Chase but not as easily as the billing of hot favourite at 1/9 implied.

Andrew Lynch set the early pace on Sizing Europe and the old adversaries did battle with three fences to jump.

Lynch went for his whip as Geraghty eased alongside but it was not enough as Sacre galloped to the front with two fences to go.

A delighted Geraghty acknowledged the crowd as he crossed the line with Sizing Europe five lengths in his wake.

Having won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and then Aintree's Melling Chase, the win completed a festival hat-trick which, considering Henderson felt his horse was not at its best, left the trainer delighted.

Henderson said: "He was at his best at Cheltenham, he wasn't quite as sharp at Aintree and wasn't as sharp today.

"He didn't do anything wrong. He was clean and confident and fair play to Sizing Europe, who ran a hell of a race.

"To do all three (Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown) is very, very hard and he's had to work harder today than he has in the past," added the trainer.

Punchestown results:

3:40

3 Zest For Life 4/1

12 Lord Hawkfield 14/1

13 Ma Chara 25/1

4:20

3 Jezki 2/1

6 Ted Veale 12/1

4:55

9 Il Fenomeno 16/1

14 Sizing Machine 7/1

19 Enchanted Forest 16/1

10 Saint Gervais 20/1

5:30

5 Sprinter Sacre 1/9 F

4 Sizing Europe 6/1

6:05

3 Moyle Park 7/4 F

25 Wrath Of Titans 9/2

10 Classic Move 10/1

7 Badgerfort 9/1

6:40

6 Mount Benbulben 14/1

7 Tofino Bay 9/1

5 Lyreen Legend 8/1

7:15

14 Very Wood 7/2 F

13 Value At Risk 20/1

11 Some Hawk 9/1

16 Western Boy 8/1

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