Nicky Henderson admits he wants to see Sprinter Sacre reclaim the Queen Mother Champion Chase crown
at the Cheltenham Festival.
The nine-year-old won the race back in 2013 under Barry Geraghty but was not fit enough to defend his title 12 months ago.
Sprinter Sacre spent over a year on the sidelines after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat having been pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
Henderson now wants his runner to see off reigning champion Sire De Grugy on Wednesday afternoon in the Cotswolds although he concedes Sprinter Sacre is not the same competitor as two years ago.
The trainer said: “When he was at his best he was unbeatable. We have not got exactly the same horse, but he is in knocking distance of it. Nico (de Boinville) who rides him every day is optimistic.
“He is in seriously good shape and doing everything we have remotely asked of him without killing him.”
Sprinter Sacre is bidding to follow in the hoof-prints of Royal Relief (1972 and 1974) and Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005) by regaining the Queen Mother Champion Chase title.
Henderson added: “I think everyone would love to see him back as he was so special. I don’t think he’ll ever be back to what he was two years ago when he was unbeatable, but he might not need to be.
“We want our crown back. Sire De Grugy has it and I’m sure the Moores want to keep it, but we want it back. Let’s hope the race lives up to the billing.”