03/13/2013 1:53PM

Cheltenham: Steeplechase ace Sprinter Sacre dominates Queen Mother Champion Chase


CHELTENHAM, England – Perhaps someday Sprinter Sacre will face a challenge in a two-mile steeplechase in England. So far, no one has come close.

Wednesday, Sprinter Sacre extended his unbeaten streak to eight races in steeplechases with a 19-length win in the $525,000 Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Sprinter Sacre’s easy win led trainer Nicky Henderson to describe the 7-year-old gelding as “nearly a perfect racehorse.”

Ridden by Barry Geraghty, Sprinter Sacre, the 1-4 favorite, stalked the pace for the first mile and overcame a mistake jumping the fourth-to-last fence. Sprinter Sacre took the lead from 2011 Queen Mother winner Sizing Europe three fences from the finish and pulled away without being asked.

After his mount jumped the last fence with a clear lead, Geraghty spent a few strides patting Sprinter Sacre’s neck.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Geraghty said. “He’s done it with such ease. He’s got so much scope.”

Sizing Europe, an 11-year-old, finished second, followed by Wishfull Thinking in the field of seven. Sprinter Sacre has won 12 of 14 starts in jump races. He was third in a two-mile race for novice hurdlers here in March 2011, his most recent loss. Over fences, he has won eight races by 114 lengths.

“He’s totally unique,” Henderson said. “He has that incredible aura about him.

“It’s pure ability. He’s nearly a perfect racehorse. He says ‘Look at me and now watch me.’

“You have to say that was pretty stunning.”