Sprinter Sacre to head straight for the Cheltenham Festival

The Black Aeroplane won’t face off with Un De Sceaux at Ascot later this month

Sprinter Sacre is set to head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after being all but ruled out of the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot later this month.

Nicky Henderson’s brilliant chaser looked back to his best when making a successful reappearance at Cheltenham in November and confirmed that resurgent display was not a one-off when beating Sire De Grugy in a pulsating Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

The 10-year-old was given an entry for Ascot’s Grade One feature on January 23, but Henderson is keen to keep his stable star fresh to give him to best possible chance of regaining the Queen Mother Champion Chase he claimed in such scintillating fashion three years ago.

"He's taken that (Kempton) race well. I did put him in the Ascot race, but I'm sure he won't go there. We'll let Un De Sceaux and Sire De Grugy have a fight over that," Henderson told At The Races.


“I would think he’ll almost certainly go straight to Cheltenham. He can get ready that way.

“Kempton wasn’t him in his real mode. He found it tight enough and sharp enough, whereas he loves the Cheltenham scenario.”