Superb Sacre shoots to head of Arkle market

There’s been a huge shake-up in the Arkle Trophy betting at the Cheltenham Festival in March after Sprinter Sacre put in an awesome display of jumping and speed to thrash Peddlers Cross at Kempton.

Peddlers Cross was the general 7/2 favourite for the Arkle before yesterday’s contest with Sprinter Sacre available at 6/1 but they have flip-flopped in betting after Nicky Henderson’s horse slammed Donald McCain’s charge by 16 lengths to win in breathtaking fashion.

Winning jockey Barry Geraghty said: “That was top class. He was all wrong at the last but was very clever at it. He jumped from fence to fence and is a horse that gets your blood up. We always knew he was going to make a smashing chaser.

“For a big horse, he is very clever. He shows plenty of respect for his fences and is not running like a headless chicken. He’s got the right combination of pace and respect for his fences. He’s one of the best I’ve ever sat on – he is frighteningly good.”

Sprinter Sacre is now the general 5/2 jolly for the two-mile showpiece, although some firms go just 2s.

Peddlers Cross has been pushed out to a top priced 6/1 after Mccain suggested that he may need further than the minimum trip to be seen at his best.

He said: “At first I was devastated, but I’ve spoken to Jason (Maguire) and he’s made me feel a huge amount better. He’s happy, he said he’s learned plenty. He gave the first a good old rub and that gave him a fright and he took a while to warm up after that.

“I think we have to seriously consider stepping up in trip. He won over two-five as a novice at Cheltenham and two miles around here on this day was sharp enough. He’s a neat and clever jumper, but he’s not exuberant. The winner is a very good two-mile chaser – over this trip he might be very special.”

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