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Emotions ran high in Sandown Park’s winner’s enclosure after Sprinter Sacre smashed his seven rivals in the feature race of the day, the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase to a festive crowd of over 11,000 racegoers, 1,000 up from 2011.
It was billed as clash between two of Britain’s leading jump horses, but Paul Nicholls’ highest rated novice chaser, Sanctuaire, could not even get close to Sprinter Sacre as he romped home to win by an easy 15 lengths.
Sprinter Sacre’s trainer Nicky Henderson, who has never won the Tingle Creek before, had tears in his eyes as Sprinter Sacre entered the enclosure to a sea of applause from Sandown Park Racegoers.
“He really has the wow factor,” he said. “It’s been such a long summer and long autumn waiting for this race, and to be honest I have been petrified about running him. When you have a horse as special as him, you can’t help it. You won’t see much better than that.”
Sprinter Sacre was the fourth winner of the day at Sandown Park for the Lambourn trainer, having won the first race with Golden Hoof, then later the Markel Insurance Henry VIII Novices’ Chase with smart novice, Captain Conan and then succeeding in a tight photo finish with Petit Robin in the Sportingbet Handicap Hurdle
Jockey Barry Geraghty said “He is such a gorgeous horse. With the strong gallop that Sanctuaire set, he was properly tested and he still performed. Riding him feels like riding concord, he really does tick every box.”
Families were able to enjoy the complimentary festive entertainment which included a pantomime performance of Sleeping Beauty, horse and sleigh rides, a Santa’s grotto, the hi-life Winter Market selling Christmas goodies and book signings from Children’s authors Ian Whybrow and Linda Chapman.