If the Tingle Creek (Saturday 3pm, Sandown) is as exciting as the build-up to the race it should be a cracker!
We lost ante-post favourite Un De Sceaux earlier in the week, and Simonsig was declared a non-runner just as I was writing this article. However that still leaves us with 7 high-class runners.
Vibrato Valtat 9/4
Trainer Paul Nicholls has won 7 of the last 10 runnings of this race but, whilst this fellow is on the upgrade, I don’t think he deserves to be favourite. He finished well-behind the re-opposing Special Tiara here in April, and I’m not convinced he’s Haldon Gold Cup win was that good a performance. Stables last 6 runners, all priced at 11/4 or less, have lost.
Special Tiara 4/1
An impressive winner of the Celebration Chase over course and distance in April but, whilst his stable’s better runners have been hitting the target, he might just need proper spring ground to be seen at his best.
Sire De Grugy 5/1
Been a shadow of the horse that won the 2014 Champion Chase, but he’s 3 from 3 around here over fences. Has to improve markedly from his seasonal debut behind Vibrato Valtat, but has often needed his seasonal debut before. His stable interestingly had a treble at Sandown on Friday.
Runner-up in both 2013 and 2014 and would be a popular winner, however just tends to find one too good on the biggest days.
Jossies Hill 9/1
Finished 6-lengths and 8-lenghs behind Vautour and Un De Sceaux at the last two Cheltenham Festivals, and still has time to reach his potential. Tough ask on seasonal debut though, and stable just 1 winner from their last 18 runners.
Mr Mole 14/1
A course and distance winner on soft ground but he’s yet to convince that he’s up to this class. All his best performances were also under the AP McCoy drive.
Third Intention 28/1
No surprise if the outsider out ran his odds for the un-form Tizzard stable, but it’s hard to see him winning.
It really does take a leap of faith to believe that Sire De Grugy will come back to form, but with a 100% course record over fences, and his stable hitting form with a vengeance on Friday – he looks worth chancing.
Sire De Grugy @ 5/1 (Various)