It’s Tingle Creek day at Sandown on Saturday which means chasers right at the top of the game on ITV4, and when you add in some class action from Aintree there’s lots to look forward to.
There’s eight eight races from both the big meetings, so it’s going to be fast and furious.
LALOR doesn’t have much in hand on ratings the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown 13.50, but the impression he gave when scoring at Cheltenham last time was one of a top-class horse in the making. He has to win this if he’s to have a real chance in the Arkle Chase next March, Richard Johnson a good booking for trainer Kayley Woollacott.
Next is the 14.25, a Listed handicap hurdle over nearly 2m. ERAGON DE CHANAY has terrific track form for Gary Moore and should have every chance of reaching the frame once again. Disappointed last time, but the ground was probably much too fast that day.
The big one of the day is the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase over nearly 2m at 15.00. ALTIOR is the top chaser in Britain, and although he makes his seasonal debut I will be most surprised if he doesn’t win for Nicky Henderson. A strong pace will suit him and you can actually argue that he’s a big price based on his outstanding record, even though he will be odds on.
We sign off at Sandown with a handicap chase over an extended 3m 4f at 15.35. ROYAL VACATION is up 3lb for a fine effort behind Rock The Kasbah at Cheltenham and that was a really good comeback. If he can build on it he has every chance for trainer Colin Tizzard and might just stay stronger than Red Infantry who is a big danger after a Haydock success.
Meanwhile at Aintree, ITV show the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences over nearly 3m 2f at 13.30. I’ll have a few quid each-way on VIEUX LION ROUGE for the David Pipe team. He’s got experience over the fences and is perfectly well handicapped off 146 having been as high as 154.
However, the most important thing for him is that he has had a wind operation and wears cheekpieces for the first time.
If that all works he has a cracking chance in a terrific renewal.
DEFINITLY RED has to give weight away to all his rivals in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase over just about 3m 1f at 14.05. That won’t be easy. However, he’s the class act in this race and the distance will suit him better than some others. Usually when horses are carrying ‘penalties’ I would take them on. But Brian Ellison’s star chaser may well be good enough.
GIVING GLANCES was fairly useful on the Flat with a rating in the 80s and did nothing wrong on his hurdling debut for Alan King. The trainer usually does well in this division so his runner could be hard to beat in the Listed Juvenile Hurdle at 14.40.
And finally, a handicap chase over an extended 2m 5f at 15.15. SHANAHAN’S TURN was desperate at Cheltenham last time, but he’s down to a very decent mark now for the Tizzard stable. Once rated 150+, he’s now on 135 and this is his perfect trip.
I’ll have a few quid on each-way in the hope of a return to form.