Sprinter Sacre (foaled 23 April 2006) is a French-bred, British-trained Selle Francais racehorse. In the 2011/2012 National Hunt season he was unbeaten in five races, winning by an aggregate of sixty-six lengths.
Sprinter Sacre is a dark brown horse sired by the German Thoroughbred stallion Network, whose progeny also include the French steeplechaser Rubi Ball (Prix La Haye Jousselin) and the Irish-trained Rubi Light (John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase). His dam, Fatima III was a Selle Francais mare.
2009/2010: National Hunt Flat
Sprinter Sacre made his first appearance in a National Hunt Flat race at Ascot in February 2010. Ridden by Barry Geraghty, he took the lead a furlong from the finish and held the late challenge of King of the Night to win by a nose. Two months later he was sent to Ayr where he won a similar event by four lengths without being extended.
2010/2011: Novice Hurdles
In November, Sprinter Sacre contested his first jump race, a novice hurdle over two and a half miles at Ascot. He started 6/5 favourite and finished second to the six-year-old Frascati Park. After a break of three months he reappeared in a two mile novices' hurdle at Ffos Las and won easily by ten lengths. Two weeks later he won a hurdle race at Ascot by seven lengths "on the bridle" and was then sent to the Cheltenham Festival for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Ridden by Tony McCoy, Sprinter Sacre took the lead three hurdles from the finish, but hit the last obstacle and faded to finish third to Al Ferof and Spirit Son.
2011/2012: Novice Chases
Sprinter Sacre made his first appearance in a steeplechase at Doncaster in December 2011. He started at odds of 2/9 and won by twenty-four lengths from Lightening Rod. At the end of December he was moved up to Grade II class for the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton in which he was matched against Peddlers Cross, the runner-up in the 2011 Champion Hurdle. Sprinter Sacre led from the start and drew clear in the closing stages to win by sixteen lengths. The Daily Mail described his jumping as "thrilling" and "spectacular" whilst Barry Geraghty called him "frighteningly good... one of the best I have ever sat on".
In February 2012, Sprinter Sacre moved out of novice company to take on more experienced chasers in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury. Ridden by Barry Geraghty, he took the lead at half way and recorded an "impressive" six length win from French Opera at odds of 2/5. Sprinter Sacre was then sent to Cheltenham for the Arkle Challenge Trophy where his rivals included Al Ferof, Menorah and Cue Card. Taking the lead four fences from the finish, he was never in danger and won by seven lengths despite being eased in the closing stages. Geraghty described the race as the equivalent of a "schooling session" and described the horse as "the special one". The Guardian called the performance "scintillating" and described the winner as being "simply in a league of his own". Only three horses appeared to challenge Sprinter Sacre in the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree a month later. He started at odds of 1/7 and "made mincemeat" of his rivals, recording a "very impressive" thirteen length win from Toubab. After the race, Henderson was effusive in his praise, calling him "frightening... extraordinary... he has this aura about him."
2012/2013: Senior Chases
Sprinter Sacre made his first appearance of the new season on 8 December in the Grade I Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, in which he was opposed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire, who had won all three of his steeplechases including the Celebration Chase. Sanctuaire set a strong pace and opened up a long lead, but Sprinter Sacre took up the lead four fences from home and drew steadily clear to win by fifteen lengths. Sprinter Sacre's next run was scheduled to take place in the Grade I Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on 19 January, but the race meeting was abandoned and rescheduled for Cheltenham a week later. Starting at odds of 1/5, Sprinter Sacre took the lead at the seventh fence, drew clear of his six opponents and won by fourteen lengths from the 50/1 outsider Mad Moose. Sprinter Sacre won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on 13 March being sent off 1/4 favourite, the shortest price since the great Arkle won his record breaking 3rd gold cup being sent off 1/10 favourite, Sprinter Sacre cruised for 12 furlongs and when 4 out he joined the front running Sizing Europe who set a fast pace throughout, Geraghty was motionless throughout the race and Sprinter Sacre was never ridden out he cruised from start to finish. He destroyed Sizing Europe by an impressive 19 lengths who was ridden along from 4 furlongs out to claim his 8th win in 8 attempts over fences.