The Tingle Creek Chase (Saturday 9 Dec, 2.55 at Sandown) is a race only usurped by the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the pecking order of races trainers want to win if they have a top-class 2-mile chaser.
Indeed, the races role of honour is full of horse who have won both this race and the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and includes the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy, Master Minded, Moscow Flyer, Flagship Uberalles and Viking Flagship.
Winners have been aged 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Paul Nicholls has trained 5 of the last 10 winners
Gary Moore has trained 2 of the last 4 winners
SP’s have ranged from 4/11 to 9/1
Won twice over course and distance in his novice season, and wasn’t disgraced when beaten just over 3-lengths in fourth last season after 10-months off. Pulled up on this season’s debut after another long lay-off but, as he has improved markedly for his seasonal debut before, he could easily give them all something to think about here.
Got within 6-lengths of Altior in a novice chase last season and was again giving that one plenty to think about when falling in the Arkle Chase. Therefore, we probably haven’t seen the best of him yet over fences, but will need a personal best by some way if Fox Norton runs up to form.
Improved around 30lb in his last 8 runs, and there could still be more to come. Also jumped beautifully first time for Brian Cooper, and has no problem going right-handed as he is 3 out of 3 in chases on right-handed tracks.
Finished third in last season’s Arkle, and also finished placed behind the likes of Min and Great Field. However, never looked like winning those races, and officially rated 20lb below Fox Norton.
Jumps well enough to make up into a top-notch 2-miler in time, and he impressed in the jumping department when winning the Haldon Gold Cup off 154. Form of that race has mixed messages, with the second San Benedeto beaten nest time, but the fourth Gino Trail and the pulled-up Sir Valentino winning since. 5 out of 5 on right-handed tracks.
Beaten by both Sir Valentino and Politilogue on his last two starts and, as he was getting weight from those two, he shouldn’t beat either of them off level-weights this time, let alone some of the others.
Bounced back from a disappointing effort, when trying to win back-to-back Haldon Gold Cups, when winning a handicap off a mark of 159 at Ascot. Now the second highest-rated horse in the race on 162, 7lb below Fox Norton, but finished behind Ar Mad when fifth in last year’s renewal.
We’ve probably not seen the best of Politilogue, Charbel or Ar Mad so far, but Fox Norton sets the bar very high, and is by far the most likely winner. Ar Mad, who has gone well here in the past, is the most interesting each-way alternative, or could be the one for the forecast behind Fox Norton.
2018 Tingle Creek Chase Tip : Fox Norton @ 8/13 PaddyPower, or Totesport