04/23/2013 1:13PM

Sprinter Sacre extends unbeaten streak to 10 in Boylessports.com Champion Chase


Sprinter Sacre, unbeaten in 10 steeplechase races, won his first start outside of England in Tuesday’s $247,000 Boylessports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown, Ireland.

The 7-year-old became the first horse to win races in the same year at the three major steeplechase festivals – Cheltenham, Aintree, and Punchestown – since the star Irish hurdler Istabraq in 1999.

Ridden by Barry Geraghty, Sprinter Sacre was 1-9 to win to Tuesday’s two-mile Champion Chase and prevailed by 5 1/2 lengths over Sizing Europe. Last month, Sizing Europe was second to Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on March 13.

Sizing Europe (6-1) led for much of Tuesday’s race, but was passed by Sprinter Sacre before the last of 11 fences. Days Hotel (20-1) finished third in the field of five.

“It was tougher today,” winning trainer Nicky Henderson said. “Barry said the horse was at his best at Cheltenham, not as sharp at Aintree, and not as sharp again today. He was 101 percent at Cheltenham and then to come back and to come back again takes a very good horse.”

Sprinter Sacre, a 7-year-old French-bred gelding by Network, races for Caroline Mould. Tuesday’s win came on his actual 7th birthday.

A winner of 13 of 15 starts, Sprinter Sacre’s winning streak began with a novice chase at Doncaster, England, in December 2011. Sprinter Sacre lost two races for novice hurdlers early in his career in 2010 and 2011.

Earlier this month at Aintree, Sprinter Sacre won the longest steeplechase of his career, the Melling Chase over 2 1/2 miles. He is not expected to start again until autumn.