The Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown 3pm) has a small but select field, but still looks to have everything you’d want in a race.
I’m under no illusion on the task that’s facing Un De Sceaux.
Many have tried to beat Altior and none have succeeded.
It’s amazing to think he’s unbeaten over hurdles and fences. He’s just a cracking horse – a horse in a generation.
But if we want to win a Tingle Creek again, we have to take him on. That’s what makes it such a great race. There’s no hiding place at Sandown and I’ve always loved riding there.
Un De Sceaux is a previous winner and his work and schooling has been good. He seems to retain all his old enthusiasm.
Of the others, Saint Calvados is improving and was a good winner in Naas – even if the real Footpad didn’t show up that day. He’s the youngest runner in the field but will have to improve a good bit again to beat Altior on all known form.
Sceaux Royal looked good at Cheltenham and won the novice event, the Henry VIII Chase, on this card last year. However, this is as tough a test as he’s faced also.
The Henry VIII Chase on the undercard at 13.50 looks a good renewal and everything points to Lalor progressing again.
He was very professional at Cheltenham and I loved the way he attacked the last two fences and the turn of foot he showed. He’ll be hard to beat.
Up at Aintree, Definitely Red contests the four-runner Many Clouds Chase at 14.05 and looked very good when winning the Charlie Hall Chase.
He’s a strong stayer and seems to be improving the whole time.
It’s a long time since Don Poli ran and he’ll shoulder top weight in the Becher Chase at 13.30. However, Blaklion has shown a real liking for Aintree and was an emphatic winner last year. He’s not far off top weight, but that mightn’t stop him.
Ross O’Sullivan sends Call It Magic over and he ran a good race in the Irish National last April, but didn’t quite see out the trip. He prefers going left-handed and could well out-run his odds if getting into a nice rhythm over the National fences.
Paul Towned rides Buildmeupbuttercup in the opening maiden hurdle at 12.00. She was a highly-rated mare on the Flat in the UK and has been working and schooling nicely at home.
We think she’ll go close.
In the finale, Patrick Mullins has his only ride of the weekend on Dionysis in the bumper at 15.20. He’s a half-brother to Bacardys and should handle the ground he’s one we’re looking forward to.