Saturday 7th December: Sandown – 1m 7½f (1m 7f 119y) Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The Tingle Creek was first run in 1979 and was named in honour of the exuberant front running chaser of the same name. In seven seasons Tingle Creek ran 52 races in Britain, all but two of them over fences. Over the seven seasons he never fell. Sandown was his spiritual home as the tricky test of jumping played to his strengths. He ran in the Sandown Handicap Pattern Chase six years in a row, winning three times and finishing second on the other three occasions. He broke the track record every time he won the race.
Recent renewals of the race have seen the favourite win seven times with the second favourite winning on a further three occasions so over the last 12 seasons looking at horses at the top of the market would appear to be a key factor when assessing the race.
The last 25 renewals have seen only four four-year-old winners and three nine-year-old winners with five-to-eight year olds winning on he other 17 occasions. The last 10 renewals have seen eight of the 10 winners falling into the five-to-eight year old age group.
As an early season event not all horses coming into the race may have had a recent run. However, eight of the last 12 renewals have been won by horses who ran within 32 days of the race. Five of the last 12 winners of the race also won on their previous start.
A previous run at Sandown is useful as eight of the last 12 winners had run at least once at the course previously, of which six had previously won at the course. All of the last 12 winners had also run over the race distance of 2 miles before the race.
Winning experience over the race distance is also a key factor when looking at the race as 10 of the last 12 winners had won at least four times over the race trip. All 12 winners had also won at least three times over fences.
An Official Rating of 161 or higher has been required to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals.
Paul Nicholls runs Politologue in the race on Saturday. The eight year old grey won the race two years ago and Nicholls certainly targets the race having saddled the winner six times in the last 12 years.
Politologue is reopposed by Defi Du Seuil who beat him by 1¼ lengths at Cheltenham last month. However, Defi Du Seuil was getting 3lbs from Politologue at Cheltenham and they run off level weights on Saturday which gives him a sound chance of reversing the places.
Nicholls also described the Cheltenham outing as a prep race for the Tingle Creek. Nicholls also believes that Politologue is best coming off a strong pace which the Willie Mullins trained Un de Sceaux should provide, as at Cheltenham he had to make his own running. At the prices, as well as the revised weights, Politologue looks a reasonable bet.
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