I can find no record of tipsters in The Old Testament although I suppose you could class prophets in the same group. Anyone recommending a bet on David against Goliath would doubtless have been laughed off the track – in this case The Valley of Elah.
A valley in the Cotswolds is where my David in the shape of Sanctuaire will hopefully face Goliath next March in the QM Champion Chase. Sprinter Sacre is already as short as evens for the race. Sanctuaire is 50s with Coral.
I need not list the talents of Sprinter Sacre who could be one of the best we’ve seen. But much can happen in a year and a key event comes up in three weeks time in the shape of The Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree. That’s the next planned run for Sanctuaire and he could well get an early sight of Sprinter Sacre alongside him at the start. The Arkle winner appeared to take little out of himself and connections will be tempted to run at Aintree.
But between now and then, I doubt Sanctuaire will get any longer than 50s for next year’s QM and he might go shorter on the run up to the Maghull. If Nicky Henderson keeps his ‘black aeroplane’ at home over Aintree then Sanctuaire will, I believe, have a strong chance of winning the race. Last year’s winner, Finian’s Rainbow got a post-Maghull quote of 10/1 for the QM and supporters collected on that last week.
Even if he finishes runner-up to Sprinter Sacre at Aintree, he will be much shorter than 50s for next year’s big race.
Sanctuaire was a talented but moody sort over hurdles. More evidence is needed that fencing has changed his attitude, but in his two steeplechases so far, he has looked as though he cannot wait until he reaches the next fence so he can fly it. After his Sandown victory last time, his trainer, Paul Nicholls (who has a fine record in The Maghull) said this:
“He got a bit fed up with hurdles and had a few hard races, but he´s an awesome jumper and fences could be the making of him. He´ll be really interesting next year and could be very good in the big two-mile chases. Horses who gallop and jump like that can take a bit of catching and he could be good in a race like the Tingle Creek.”
Sanctuaire’s chasing victories have been class 4 small field events – from those to running a big race in the QM is an awful long way. But he’s only 6, we know from his hurdling career he has talent and his trainer seems to be eyeing the big 2m prizes for next season. He might not be good enough to beat Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham but he could easily be placed and at 50s, I think an EW bet is very good value.