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Sprinter Sacre heartbeat ‘perfectly normal’ after gallops assessment

| 03.01.2014

News has begun to filter out from Seven Barrows that equine internal medicine specialist Dr Celia Marr has reported Sprinter Sacre’s heartbeat ‘perfectly normal’ after assessment before, during and after work on the gallops.

Coral now have him 4/7 favourite for in the Champion Chase betting.

It was a hugely heartening update for Nicky Henderson who has already seen his Simonsig ruled out for the entire campaign this term.

Having been pulled up on his belated return to action in Kempton’s Desert Orchid Chase, there had been some concern over a threat to his racing career.

Diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in the aftermath of the race, he was sent to Newmarket for tests under Dr Marr.

The outcome was that the superstar fencer’s heartbeat had righted itself and his coming through a piece of work with no complications represents another step on the road to recovery.

Unlike in the case of 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman the need to use the potentially toxic Quinidine treatment was thus avoided.

Prior to his bout of ill health Sprinter Sacre had cast a shadow over the Champion Chase that obliterated all his rivals from the reckoning.

However, even now he’s understood to be on the road to recovery his odds have yet to return to their Lilliputian pre-Christmas proportions.

During the period of gravest doubt over his welfare the odds of Sire De Grugy (now 3/1) and Cue Card (6/1) – an old foe of Nicky Henderson’s hero from their novice hurdling and chasing days – have concertinaed.

As a result the Champion Chase 2014 betting has a far more competitive look to it now and represents a real conundrum for punters.

His trainer’s ability to ready a horse for competition at the very highest level without a recent race is on record after Bobs Worth’s Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph in 2013.

Yet, should he make it to the 2014 Cheltenham Festival it’ll be hard for anyone to back him with the same blind faith as they did last season.