This is one of those small but perfectly-formed National Hunt races that has an outstanding pedigree and is much beloved because of it. This Saturday sees the Tinge Creek Chase contested at Sandown Park, and despite the late withdrawal of the unbeaten Douvan there is still plenty of punters to sink their teeth into.
Thursday’s decision to pull Douvan from the reckoning was a bitter blow for long-term ante post punters – many of whom will have had the six-year-old pegged for this renewal for some time – but Willie Mullins was unequivocal in his desire to save his premier steed for a different challenge; possibly at Punchestown in a week’s time.
That has opened the door for a number of quality chasers in this field to land a milestone win, and while the bookmakers fancy Un De Sceaux or Ar Mad to get the job done, there is a lot to be said for two-time winner Tingle winner and reigning champion Sire De Grugy.
A decent crowd is expected at Sandown on Saturday, and they will be hoping for a repeat of the 2015 renewal when Sire De Grugy held off the challenge of Special Tiara to prove his mettle over the 2m distance.
That’s not the first time that the Gary Moore trained gelding has done the business in a Grade 1 race, and while he might be knocking on a bit there is no reason why the ten-year-old can’t land a historic third Tingle crown.
Nineteen of the last twenty-two winners of this race had previously won a Group 1 encounter, so clearly we are looking at the class acts to prosper. Jamie Moore will once again take the mount, and he is in no doubt as to Sire De Grugy’s quality after a decent return to form at Ascot last time out.
“I was very pleased with him at Ascot,” he said. “He pricked his ears going to the last and that shows you he had a bit left in the tank. I think he’s just holding back a bit these days.”
“He does enjoy jumping at Sandown. The seven fences down the back suit him. I think it’s mainly that he’s been in the right races at the right time.”
Tingle Creek Chase Betting Preview
Of course, it would be foolhardy to completely write off the hopes of Un De Sceaux, the outstanding chaser who bagged a win over Sire De Grugy in the Clarence House Chase back in January.
But that was on the heavy ground that this eight-year-old so enjoys, and with Sandown expected to be good-to-soft it will be intriguing to see if the Mullins charge can perform to the peak of his powers. Two notable ‘losses’, albeit to the outstanding Sprinter Sacre, booth came on good ground, and so the firmer surface on Saturday surely has to count against him.
The 3/1 shot Ar Mad is eye catching due to his pace and aggression when taking on fences, and with four wins on the bounce there is clearly a sense of pedigree here. But those have come in small, low quality fields, and while a step up in class does not have to spell disaster clearly the six-year-old as his work cut out amongst such esteemed company.
Which leads us nicely back to Sire De Grugy, available at the 7/2 mark with Coral and Betfair at the time of writing. A proven winner in such illustrious company, on such a surface on this very track, all of the boxes are ticked for another tilt at the title.