Sprinter Sacre regained his Champion Chase crown in March
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
SPRINTER SACRE will face five rivals in Saturday’s bet365 Celebration Chase, with Un De Sceaux the only representative for Willie Mullins while title rival Paul Nicholls has declared three.
Mullins also had Cheltenham Festival winners Vautour and Douvan entered, but has declared neither with Vautour also in the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase. Also out of the initial field of ten are Special Tiara, who heads for Punchestown, and Top Gamble who did not get the rain connections wanted.
Paul Nicholls left all three of his entrants in the race at the declaration stage: last year’s Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets, this year’s Grand Annual winner Solar Impulse and smart handicapper Ulck Du Lin.
The field is completed by Sire De Grugy, the Tingle Creek winner and former Champion Chase hero.
The race is one of the richest on Sandown’s hotly anticipated season-closing card and could go a long way to settling the trainers’ championship. There is £71,187 to the winner, but with prize-money guaranteed for all finishers Nicholls’ numerical advantage could prove significant.
The race’s sponsors go 10-11 about Sprinter Sacre following up his famous Champion Chase success. Un De Sceaux is 6-4, followed by Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets, the shortest of Nicholls’ trio, at 14-1.
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