sport

Sprinter Sacre blows them away

Sprinter Sacre (1/3 favourite) was an imperious winner of a top-class John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday.

Cue Card (7/1) arrived at Aintree at the top of his game after a Ryanair Chase victory but he couldn't live with the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner on his first attempt over two-and-a-half miles over fences.

Flemenstar was the first big gun to fold as he was outpaced in the straight, but Cue Card kept going up front under pressure from Joe Tizzard.

Yet Geraghty was motionless on the 'Black Aeroplane' and the duo cruised into the lead before beating Cue Card by four-and-a-half lengths without being asked a serious question.

Geraghty said: "He was brilliant. I suppose I could have done with going a little bit quicker.

"He travelled a bit too well and I had to take him back a few times to make use of his jumping. Because of the distance I didn't want to get to the front too soon.

"He was more relaxed than at Cheltenham, but we didn't go quick. He tanked a little. He was very manageable, he wasn't wanting to do anything silly like tear off with me. He was very co-operative and a real gentleman.

"When you let him loose like at the second-last he does it too easily.

"The two and a half miles didn't make any difference. He has plenty of pace and is very versatile."

Henderson said: "He's just a natural athlete. He's got a huge amount of ability and knows how to use it.

"I don't think anybody has taught him about jumping. It is sheer natural talent and it's good to watch when it's over.

"As Barry says that is probably as far as he wants to go. He gets two and a half but he doesn't need any more. It gives him options."

Henderson was not completely ruling out a quick return at Punchestown on April 23, adding: "I'm not ruling it in or out, I sort of think I'd like to show him to the people in Ireland one day.

"He's not had hard races has he. Let's see how he comes out of this."