Despite the absence of last year’s winner Altior, this year’s renewal of The Betfair Tingle Creek chase at Sandown over just short of 2 miles, is an almost who’s who of Cheltenham Festival cameo performers.
Cheltenham Festival JLT Novices hero Defi Du Seuil holds favouritism although veteran campaigner Un De Sceaux and Champion Chase runner-up Politologue will certainly not make things easy for the Philip Hobbs 6 year old.
DEFI DU SEUIL
This extremely versatile star of the Philip Hobbs yard looks a worthy favourite for this heat after a very satisfactory 2 length win over Politologue at The Cheltenham November Meeting last month.
That followed a creditable second to Chacun Pour Soi who looks destined for glory at The Cheltenham Festival. Therefore, the formbook looks solid and the 6/4 (Coral) currently available appears good value.
Connections would probably prefer a stronger test of stamina but this race ultimately serves the purpose of guiding the horse towards the Champion Chase or Ryanair Chase route. Very hard to see him being beaten on Saturday although the 2017 winner, Politologue is an obvious threat.
This Paul Nicholls trained grey has been a fantastic servant to the Ditcheat outfit down the years and now firmly settled in the 2m division after failing to stay in The King George last year.
His reappearance at Cheltenham last month, being just touched off by current favourite Defi Du Seuil, should set him up nicely for this contest although he may have to improve a little more.
However, he does have a Tingle Creek to his name, having won it back in 2017 and his run behind Altior in The Champion Chase was the performance of his life so it’s difficult to say how good he is at this stage. Good value at 9/2 with race sponsors Betfair and Paddy Power.
UN DE SCEAUX
This veteran campaigner from the Willie Mullins yard looks to be in the twilight of his career and if the ground comes up testing, he could be the spanner in the works to upset the likes of Defi Du Seuil and Politologue.
He surprised a few with a fine win in the Boylesports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival back in August beating odds on favourite Min by 4 lengths. If he can reproduce that kind of form, the 4/1 with William Hill could be very good value.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much rain forecast between now and off time on Saturday and the 11 year old really needs that give in the ground to get seriously competitive.
This Alan King trained seven year old comes into the reckoning after a fine second to Altior over the course and distance back in April. Always runs a solid race and will be there to pick up the pieces if the front three in the market capitulate.
Great each way at 13/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power.
This talented eight year old has been off the boil in the last year and certainly not running to the best of his ability. Best watched on this occasion but value to be had at 10/1 with William Hill, Betfair, Bet Victor, and Paddy Power.
Very interesting contender from the Nicky Henderson yard and definitely in with a squeak. Janika has been running at the 2m 4/5 furlong distance and has shown some consistency in decent handicaps at Cheltenham.
His reappearance at Exeter in the Coral Haldon Gold Cup (Limited Handicap) was decent enough. Interestingly, the bookmakers really don’t know how to price him considering his odds are ranging from 4/1 to 8/1 best (Betfair, Paddy Power).
Favourites have an excellent record in this race with 8 market leaders obliging in the past ten years. In fact it’s rare for a horse out of the first three in the betting to score here. Only Dodging Bullets in 2014 winning at 9/1 has bucked the trend in the last ten years.
Therefore, the current favourite should have this race at his mercy. Defi Du Seuil is just about the form horse in the race and the rest will have to improve to figure prominently. Janika is a very interesting entry and if all eight horses go to post, this has to be a worthy each way wager at 8/1.
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (18:00 3rd December 2019) and are subject to change.