sport

Sprinter Sacre scares off rivals

Just nine horses have been left in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase at the latest forfeit stage.

Following the news that Flemenstar is set to miss the Cheltenham Festival this week the mighty Sprinter Sacre looks to have scared off plenty of potential opposition ahead of the two-mile chase highlight.

His stablemate, and last year's champion, Finian's Rainbow, could be one of his main rivals and he has been left in the contest ahead of his upcoming run in the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

Another former champion, Sizing Europe, also has the Champion Chase as an option as does Cue Card, last year's Arkle Trophy runner-up behind Sprinter Sacre.

Finian's Rainbow, Sizing Europe and Cue Card also remain in the Ryanair Chase, though, as do three other Champion Chase entrants; Somersby, Tataniano and Wishfull Thinking.

Paul Nicholls' Sanctuaire, readily beaten by Sprinter Sacre either side of his win in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, also stands his ground, while Noel Meade's Realt Dubh completes the nine entries.

Eight horses were formally scratched on Wednesday: Edgardo Sol, Flemenstar, Free World, Kumbeshwar, Rubi Light, Shooters Wood, Simonsig and William's Wishes.

The race has never in its history attracted a smaller final field than five, while Flyingbolt was the shortest-priced favourite when scoring at 1/5 in 1966.