RACING: Henderson upbeat over Sacre

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Nicky Henderson and Sprinter Sacre Nicky Henderson and Sprinter Sacre

LAMBOURN trainer Nicky Henderson has not ruled out running Sprinter Sacre again this season after his heart problem righted itself.

The brilliant seven-year-old was found to be suffering from an irregular heartbeat after he was pulled up by Barry Geraghty on his seasonal return in Friday's Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Sprinter Sacre returned to Henderson's Seven Barrows base on Friday night but was sent to Newmarket for assessment by Celia Marr, a specialist in equine internal medicine and cardiology, on Saturday.

Marr confirmed the original diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and decided to give the horse time to see if his heartbeat regulated itself.

But Henderson said: "The good thing is that the fact it has self-righted means we don't have to go into the process of using any drugs.

"Quinidine is the normal solution for this kind of problem but it's a risky drug and it's good news we don't have to go down that route.

"Celia wants to come down to Seven Barrows on Friday and canter him using an ECG, so we will see how that goes.

"The important thing is that it is only a very recent onset (of the problem). Barry was so quick in picking up something was wrong and in pulling him up at Kempton."

"It would be speculation (to say he won't run again this season).

"We're talking about cantering him again on Friday so you wouldn't rule out training him again this season.

"It's got to be a step at a time with him and we will obviously know more in the coming weeks as he is back in light exercise, and we will continue to monitor him."

Henderson will take his time before deciding a definite route back to the Cheltenham Festival for Bobs Worth.

The eight-year-old won the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup last term but had disappointed when only sixth in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his return last month.

However, he returned to form in style with victory in the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday, providing some consolation for owners The Not Afraid Partnership who lost promising hurdler Chatterbox last week.

"It was just wonderful to see him back on winning form," Henderson said.

"I would have thought that (not to run again before Cheltenham) would be my gut instinct, but we will have to see how he is in 10 days time.

"It just shows you what an up-and-down sport racing is. The owners lost Chatterbox last week and after Haydock it looked as though Bobs Worth might be in a bit of trouble, but then he came back yesterday and it was a thoroughly deserved win for them."

Henderson also enjoyed Grade One glory at Newbury as Captain Cutter landed the Challow Novices' Hurdle, giving his Seven Barrows team a boost following Sprinter Sacre's setback on Friday.

"I was very, very pleased. I've always thought he was quite good but his jumping wasn't as good as it could have been," he said.

"AP (McCoy) thought he was better going left-handed though.

"I don't know what the plan will be with him now. I watched the race with (owner) JP (McManus) in Ireland and it's great to have had two Grade One winners for him in three days (following My Tent Or Yours in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton).

"After the last couple of days, those winners certainly put some smiles back."


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