Sprinter Sacre: Cheltenham hopeful enjoys Newbury outing

Trainer Nicky Henderson says he is "fairly optimistic" Sprinter Sacre will defend his Queen Mother Champion Chase title at the Cheltenham Festival.

Sprinter Sacre, fitted with a heart monitor, in the Newbury parade ring

Sprinter Sacre, fitted with a heart monitor, in the Newbury parade ring

The horse's 10-race winning run ended when pulled up at Kempton last month.

He returned to a racecourse for the first time since an irregular heartbeat righted itself, when parading at Newbury on Saturday.

"The experts say that this could and should be a one-off, and work-wise he's on schedule," said Henderson.

Wearing a heart monitor, the horse enjoyed an away day from Henderson's Lambourn stables as he went around the parade ring alongside retired 2008 Gold Cup winner Denman.

A more vigorous workout is planned for Kempton on 22 February.

"I'm fairly optimistic," said Henderson of the big Cheltenham race on 12 March.

"If all goes well over the next four-and-a-half weeks, he can get to Cheltenham."

In 2013, Sprinter Sacre won the Champion Chase by 19 lengths and he is favourite for a repeat ahead of Sandown and Kempton winner Sire De Grugy.