Inside today’s main piece I preview Saturday’s feature race the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. Plus. there’s a Wednesday selection from Haydock.
Looking Ahead To The Weekend – Part 1
After last week’s Coral Gold Cup, we have another winter highlight at Sandown on Saturday. This time it’s the turn of the Grade 1 Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (2.55). This could be cracker too if the likes of Shishkin, Greaneteen and Edwardstone run.
The Sandown card also features the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase (1.45). Of course, the final line-up’s for both Grade 1’s will be dependent on the prevailing going.
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The BoyleSports Becher Handicap Chase (2.05) over the National fences is the highlight at Aintree with the Boylesports Many Clouds Chase (1:30) also features on a seven race card.
ITV4 are covering four races from Sandown & Aintree as part of an eight race programme.
Across the Irish Sea Fairyhouse’s two day Winter Festival gets underway on Saturday. The Sunday highlights are three Grade 1 one races: The Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1.25), the Drinmore Novice Steeplechase (1.55) and the Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2.30). The latter race will hopefully see the seasonal return of Honeysuckle who will bid for fourth successive win in the race. Nine, including Klassical Dream, were left in the race at Tuesday’s confirmation stage The highlight races on Sunday in Britain are the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase (2:55) at Huntingdon and I race I like the Scottish Borders National Handicap Chase (1:05) at Kelso. It's just a shame that ITV will be not be covering the Sunday action.
Tingle Creek Chase – Sandown
First run in 1979. The race has been won by top chasers such three time winner Flagship Uberalles. Moscow Flyer (2003 & 2004) Kauto Star (2005 & 2006). And in the last decade Sprinter Sacre (2012) and Altior (2018). Last year’s renewal was by the Paul Nicholls trained Greaneteen who was among the seven entries left in the race at Monday’s final confirmation stage.
Looking at the trends and it’s a very brief look this week.
Twelve of the last 14 winners of the race were sent of 7/2 or shorter – 12 winners from 29 runners 19 placed. The two winners above 7/2 were Dodging Bullets (9/1) and Greaneteen (12/1).
Eleven of the 14 winners were officially rated 166+. – 11 winners from 24 runners +12.8 17 placed.
Shishkin lost his unbeaten record over fences when pulling up in last season’s Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He was never travelling or jumping that day but was subsequently found to be suffering a rare bone condition which helps to explain his poor performance. He’s the best of these on official ratings and will be tough to beat if back to his best. However, will 2m prove short of his best these days?
Greaneteen’s form figures over C&D are 2111 with all three wins coming in Grade 1 contests. The 8-year jumped well from the front when carrying 11-12 to victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on seasonal reappearance last month. He’s on home ground and Shishkin will have to be close to his best to beat him.
Edwardstone won the Grade 1 Arkle Novices’ Chase at the festival in March. And won the Henry VIII Novices' Chase on this card last year. Came up short when only runner-up to Gentlemen De Mee in the Grade 1 at Aintree on his final start. That was probably a race to far for the season for him. He needs to have improved again to beat Shishkin and Greaneteen.
Gentlemen De Mee looked a contender for the top 2m chases this season when making all to beat Edwardstone at Aintree. Not at his best in a Grade 3 at Naas on seasonal return 21-days ago and was beaten when unseating his rider at the last. Capable of better but will need to take a big step forward to win.
Funambule Sivola posted a career best on RPR’s when finishing an 8 ½ length 2nd of 7 to Energumene in the Champion Chase. He’s a good jumper of a fence but needs the market leaders to falter if he’s going to be in with a chance of winning this on seasonal return.
Captain Guinness looked better than ever when winning the Grade 2 Fortria Chase at Naas 20-days ago. He’s looked short of Grade 1 level so far and finished 5 ¾ lengths back in third in last year’s race. He looks to be playing for place money once more.
Tingle Creek Verdict:
A lot depends on Shishkin’s well-being if he’s back to his best he'll take the beating. However, I was really impressed with Greaneteen last time and he goes so well here. Another bold front running ride and I think he can give trainer Paul Nicholls another success in the race.
Another day with five meetings. Three on the all-weather Lingfield and Dundalk this afternoon and an evening card at Kempton where the highlight race is the Unibet Wild Flower Stakes (7.50). Meanwhie Haydock and Ludlow provide the action for jumps fans. An Introductory Hurdle (2:37) and Leg 12 of the Veterans’ Series (3:07) are the highlights of six race Haydock card,
7:50 – Siskany heads the early bird betting for best race of the day. He finished runner-up in last year’s to Garden Paradise who reopposes here. Siskany won a Listed a race at Newmarket in September but was a well beaten 3rd of 5 in a Group 1 in Germany 24-days ago. Respected down in class. If Garden Paradise could reproduce last year’s performance, she would be tough to beat. However, she’s since disappointed on two subsequent starts and her well being has to be taken on trust.
Siskany’s stablemate Wild Crusade has improved on his last two starts for the fitting of blinkers. Finishing runner-up in the valuable Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket and in Listed race over C&D last month. Buick prefers Siskany but of the pair I like Wild Crusade.
Belloccio made it 2-2 on the all-weather, both here, when winning a Class 2 handicap over a furlong shorter last month. Despite the rise in Class, he’s not out of this on ratings and could be capable of even better on a surface that suits.
Jack Darcy a winner at Salisbury & Newbury last summer wasn’t disgraced when a 4 ¾ length 4th of 10 in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at ‘Glorious’ Goodwood. The 3-year-old look unlucky when a ¾-length 4th of 6 on all-weather debut at Newcastle 15-days ago. Lightly raced he’s likely capable of better.
3:07 – Nine are set to meet the starter for the veterans handicap chase. Venetia Williams saddles two in Chambard and Coo Star Sivola. The former is having his first start since winning the Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He won on seasonal return last season and should go well on first start in veterans company. Coo Star Sivola returns from 595-day absence and makes his first start for the trainer. He looks on a good mark if ready to roll first time.
Up Helly Aa King looked set to go close on his Kelso seasonal reappearance, but he stumbled after jumping the last and couldn’t recover in time. Blaklion romped away with this race on heavy ground last year. He’s struggled since but can now race off the same mark as 12 months ago.
Saint Xavier is potentially on a winnable mark and the 10-year-old was an encouraging 5 length 4th of 9 in veterans handicap chase at Cheltenham 19-days ago. That was his first start for six months and should be sharper today. He’s one to be very interested in.
3:07 – Saint Xavier – 11/2 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.