Sprinter Sacre: The Equine Usain Bolt

Spine-tingling sporting performances are rare. Every once in a while the fortunate sports fan is treated to a sporting achievement that hits stratospheric heights. On Friday at Aintree a horse, no ordinary horse admittedly, performed to such a level that onlookers were left grasping for new superlatives.

Sprinter Sacre was running over two and a half miles for the first time. Unbeaten and peerless over fences at two miles, he was stepping out of his comfort zone taking on Cue Card and Flemenstar in the Melling Chase. Nicky Henderson’s superstar looked certain to be tested by top-class opposition who were more experienced and maybe better suited to the distance.

Many pundits questioned whether Sprinter Sacre’s stamina would hold-out in the likely punishing end to end gallop. Both Flemenstar and Cue Card shared the burden up front. Even a rejuvenated Finians Rainbow had a brief spell at the head of affairs. Yet turning for home the writing was on the wall. An ice cool Barry Geraghty pulled the favourite out into the open and released a few inches of rein. Sprinter Sacre breezed past his opponents and cruised to victory with minimum fuss.

Cue Card gave chase and performed admirably. But Sprinter Sacre is in a league of his own. Usain Bolt once won an Olympic 100 metre title after jogging for the last 40 metres. This performance from the world’s greatest chaser was very similar in style and in its impact on the watching fans; we were witnessing an untouchable sporting sensation.

Enormous credit to Simon Holt for his wonderful commentary. “This is unbelievable, Sprinter Sacre’s going to beat the best on the bridle, seeing is believing, see the swagger, what a superstar, nine from nine over fences.”

Seeing was believing. What a performance. What a horse.

Sprinter Sacre, take a bow.