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15:05 Aintree: If ever a time to oppose Sprinter Sacre, this is it

| 05.04.2013

In the same way that Frankel was unopposable in the last Flat season, Sprinter Sacre has taken on a similar mantle in the National Hunt game.

Sprinter Sacre has hardly been taken off the bridle in all eight winning chase starts and even taking into account that he is usually eased down, still no horse has got closer than six lengths of him.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase was quickly turned into a procession at Cheltenham last month and punters may be expecting more of the same in the Melling Chase at Aintree.

Those that do may deem 1/3 to be good value to his chances.

However, if ever there was a race to take on Sprinter Sacre, then this may well be it, given that he is stepping up to 2m4f for the first time and takes on the toughest field in his chase career to date.

His only previous start over such a distance came over hurdles and on that occasion he was beaten by Frascati Park and only five of the 22 winners of the Melling Chase did not hold a victory over 2m4f or further on their resume ahead of arriving at Aintree.

Furthermore, Master Minded was just as impressive when winning the Champion Chase by a similar distance in 2008 and arrived at Aintree as a 2/5 favourite, only to be beaten.

Meanwhile, in Cue Card and Flemenstar, he faces two rivals who are not only proven over the 2m4f distance, but arguably stay slightly further, so can make this a test of stamina.

Cue Card may have lost to Sprinter Sacre by seven lengths in the Arkle last year, but he certainly made the winner work more than anyone else, despite the race being over an inadequate distance.

If he can get to the front here, Cue Card can settle into a rhythm, like he did when landing the Ryanair Chase, and that Cheltenham contest over the same distance has proved the best guide to this in recent years.

Cue Card is a fine each-way price at 7/1 and if Sprinter Sacre does dominate as usual, he will be battling for second with Irish raider Flemenstar (11/2), who has won all three chase starts over this trip, but has been campaigned over 3m of late.

His jumping could well put Sprinter Sacre under pressure.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.