A Weekend Preview of the Tingle Creek Chase & Other Weekend Highlights from Sandown Park & Beyond by our regular correspondent, Hector Steiff
Saturday is Tingle Creek Chase day at Sandown Park, where the race has been staged since 1969. Over the minimum trip of two miles, it’s a fast and furious affair that has been won in recent times by some of the greats of chasing, including Kauto Star, Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior.
Last year’s winner, Politologue, joined an ever growing list of multiple winners of this prestigious contest, one that stretches as far back as Sound Man, who won it when it became a Grade 1 feature of the December meeting. There won’t be a second time winner this Saturday, though, as Politologue does not hold an entry.
The winningmost trainer of this Grade 1 race, Paul Nicholls, instead relies on Greaneteen and Hitman to bring him a record twelfth win. However, there’s plenty of stiff competition for this valuable prize pot of £150,000 from both sides of the Irish Sea, with Chacun Poir Soi making the trip over from Willlie Mullins’ Closutton base, and the Skelton team flying the home flag with Nube Negra.
Henry de Bromhead, the standout trainer from Ireland last season, has Captain Guinness lining up fresh from a win in the Poplar Square Chase at Naas last month, and he will be closely watched after putting in such a good shift last that last day
The Tingle Creek looks a top class renewal for 2021. Chacun Pour Soi, winner of the Irish Champion Chase at Punchestown back in April, to make amends for his third spot in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, has long looked the natural successor to the greats Sprinter Sacre, and Altior, in the two mile chasing division. Never out of the first three in 10 starts over fences, this is his trip on his ground, and the only negative point in the final appraisal is the lack of a warm up run under race conditions
Paul Nicholls’ Greaneteen needs to find something extra after weakening badly in the final stages in his season’s bow at Exeter, but the Champion Trainer is double-handed with the unexposed Hitman his other runner who makes great each way appeal under Harry Cobden. Henry de Bromhead’s Captain Guinness is another one that does arrive here in form, and though he has plenty of form on ground with plenty of dig in it, the win at Naas was on good ground, so the progressive and unexposed six year old ticks lots of boxes
In the final analysis, though, this race looks set to be the next step forward for the rising star in this division, Nube Negra. He was unlucky not to have caught Put The Kettle On, the winner of the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in March when having to switch lanes on the run in, just going down by half a length, but has returned with purpose this season with a cosy win in the Shloer Chase at Prestbury Park. He should get his preferred quicker ground, will be well versed by Dan Skelton to take on the tricky fences on the back straight at Sandown Park, and also has form over likely favourite, Chacun Pour Soi, from that Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Nube Negra to stamp his class on the Tingle Creek!
This preview has been brought to you by our regular correspondent, Hector Steiff