SPRINTER SACRE has the incredibly high rating of 179 over fences and it's not difficult to understand why. The most exciting two-miler seen for some time, he's hardly been out of a canter in all six starts over fences and had no problems whatsoever picking off the front-running Sanctuaire in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. The latter has since easily reversed form with Sandown runner-up Kumbeshwar in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid at Kempton and can beat that rival again while he also holds a verdict over the returning Somersby at Sandown last April. The remainder are playing for places with Oiseau De Nuit, who easily beat Kumbeshwar at Chepstow in October, possibly the best of them.
Esteem 16-1 (11-9) Held up in rear, headway after 6th, ridden and weakened after 2 out, tailed off, 7th of 14, well behind Master Of The Sea (11-7) at Hereford 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Dec.
Kinkeel (IRE) 16-1 (10-0) Led to 8th, led again before 10th, headed 4 out, weakened and lost remote 3rd when jumped right 3 out, pulled up before last, in a race won by Loughalder (10-1) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy, 6 ran.
Kumbeshwar 5-1 (11-6) Prominent, not fluent 6th, ridden approaching 3 out, went 2nd 2 out, no impression, stayed on same pace, 2nd of 5, 13l behind Sanctuaire (11-10) at Kempton 2m Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Mad Moose (IRE) 66-1 (11-0) Held up in last trio, chased leaders briefly before 2 out, went moderate 4th between last 2, no chance with leaders, 4th of 7, 32l behind Zarkandar (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec.
Oiseau de Nuit (FR) 8-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, ridden and lost place after 5 out, behind from next, tailed off, 6th of 7, well behind Shooters Wood (10-1) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs (2) hvy in Dec.
Sanctuaire (FR) 11-8fav (11-10) Led, rider lost whip some time after 5th, ridden and headed after 4 out, led again before 2 out, clear approaching last, ran on well, won at Kempton 2m Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec beating Kumbeshwar (11-6) by 13l, 5 ran.
Somersby (IRE) 11-4fav (11-6) Held up in 5th and off the pace, went 4th 4 out, went 2nd approaching and plenty to do when hit 2 out, plugged on, never able to challenge, 2nd of 8, 17l behind Sanctuaire (11-2) at Sandown 2m chs G2 (1) sft in Apr.
Sprinter Sacre (FR) 4-11fav (11-7) Chased clear leader, not fluent 4th, took closer order 4 out, led next, quickened clear before last, unextended, very impressive, won at Sandown 2m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec beating Kumbeshwar (11-7) by 15l, 7 ran.
William's Wishes (IRE) Evensfav (11-11) Held up in rear, headway to 4th 4 out, went 3rd travelling well before mistake and stumbled 2 out, recovered and switched right before last, challenged last, led and edged left flat, ridden out, won at Sandown 2m hcp chs (2) sft beating Nozic (9-10) by 2l, 6 ran.