The Nicky Henderson-trained machine lived up to the hype when winning the 2012 Arkle Chase by seven lengths, with the Sprinter having done little wrong this season although the presence of Sizing Europe in the race means it is no foregone conclusion.
There are several other quality races on Wednesday, including the Neptune Novices Hurdle, where Pont Alexandre is the well-backed favourite to win the race. The RSA Chase has seen Dynaste withdraw from the race and the race now has a wide-open look about it.
Neptune Novices’ Hurdle
The whole of Ireland only have eyes for one horse in this race. Pont Alexandre is a five-year-old which is highly-rated in the Emerald Isle and the Willie Mullins charge could go off even money for Wednesday’s race, although odds of 7/4 (William Hill) are currently available that Ruby Walsh steers him to victory.
Pont Alexandre’s last win was at Leopardstown at the end of January, beating Sizing Gold by eleven lengths with the rest nowhere, although there are other classy horses in the race including one from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard.
Bet365 are certainly keen on The New One and go just 10/3 about a horse that has won six of his eight starts although the five-year-old was second behind At Fishers Cross at Cheltenham in January.
Taquin Du Seuil is an 11/2 chance with bet365 and the horse has attracted plenty of money in the past few days, while Rule The World and Chatterbox are also expect to have big runs. However, the Irish eyes will only be smiling if Pont Alexandre obliges in the Neptune.
The market for this high-profile race has received an almighty shake-up since David Pipe finally announced that Dynaste would be heading for the Jewson rather than the RSA Chase, which means that Boston Bob and Unioniste will be battling it out for favouritism in this encounter.
The former was backed off the boards for the Albert Bartlett twelve months ago before being beaten by Brindisi Breeze, although the eight-year-old has won on his two outings this term and Willie Mullins should have him just right for a tilt at the RSA.
However, the fact that Ruby Walsh has decided to ride Unioniste in this race suggests he could be the one to back instead. William Hill go 4/1 about this progressive five-year-old and we should note that the Paul Nicholls-trained charge has Cheltenham form, after winning a competitive Grade 3 race in December.
Hadrian’s Approach finished a short head behind Unioniste at Newbury in February and the fact that was on soft ground suggests that Nicky Henderson could yet have a winner in this race, having been carrying an extra pound that day.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Ten horses are currently entered for Wednesday’s championship race and all eyes will be on Sprinter Sacre to see whether this machine of a horse can continue to be an aeroplane and fly to victory in the Queen Mother.
The seven-year-old has won his last seven races and that includes an impressive Arkle win twelve months ago which saw the Sprinter beat Cue Card by seven lengths. The Nicky Henderson horse was back at the same course to comfortably win in January and ratings suggest that we could see a victory by over ten lengths.
If you’re lucky, Coral might still be offering even money about this hot pot for a limited stake, although the best odds available are otherwise 2/7 (William Hill) which many people will see as buying money.
We can safely assume that Cue Card will run in the Ryanair Chase, although Sizing Europe looks as though he will take his chances in this encounter, despite Henry de Bromhead having originally entertained ideas that the Irish raider could get three miles in the Gold Cup.
Sizing won this race in 2011 following on from his Arkle win in the previous year and the eleven-year-old would probably have two Champion Chases under his belt had it not been for the controversial finish last year.
Coral go 6/1 about this popular horse, with four straight wins in Ireland to his name this season, while the soft ground should demonstrate that Sizing Europe has a chance of going toe-to-toe with Sprinter Sacre for some of the race.
Finian’s Rainbow is the returning champion who finished last at Ascot in November and February, although the ten-year-old can return to this track and run a decent race considering the defeat of Sizing Europe twelve months ago.