Just nine horses have been left in the Queen Mother Champion Chase next month following the latest round of scratchings. It appears that hot favourite Sprinter Sacre has sacred off the majority of the field with there being every chance the Nicky Henderson horse could take part in the smallest field in the history of the race. The record for the smallest Champion Chase field came back in 1966 when Flyingbolt won against just four rivals and with nine left for the race next month that number could well be under threat. The highest profile scratching was Flemenstar who will miss the race for trainer Peter Casey after picking up a lung infection. Other horses to have been removed at this stage include Simonsig who is on target for the Arkle and Williams Wishes who has looked a progressive sort this season for trainer Evan Williams but looks set to be out for the remainder of the campaign. The simple fact is that Sprinter Sacre has scared off the majority of his rivals with trainers looking to avoid a horse who looks to be virtually unbeatable as long as he stands up straight at the Festival.
The main opposition to Sprinter Sacre at this stage looks like coming from stable-mate Finains Rainbow who has been left in the race. The Michael Buckley owned horse won the race last season but he is by no means a certain runner with connections flirting with the idea of sending him to the Ryanair Chase. The same can be said of Sizing Europe who retains an entry for the Queen Mother Champion Chase having won the race and come second in the last two years but he is another one who is being considered for the Ryanair at Cheltenham. Taking that into account there is very little in the way of realistic opposition to Sprinter Sacre at the moment with the horse looking nigh on unbeatable so far during his chasing career. The Nicky Henderson horse simply hacked up to win the Arkle last season and he has followed that up with wins at Sandown and back at Cheltenham this winter to mark himself as the banker of the Festival next month. The Champion Chase betting may not be particularly competitive this season but fans will be desperate to see Sprinter Sacre win at the Festival this year with most believing that he could well be the next big superstar of the sport.