A field of five clashes in this season’s Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday (2:25), a quintet that will look to join big names like Flagship Uberalles, Moscow Flyer, Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre, Un De Sceaux and Altior.
It’s a huge disappointment that Shishkin isn’t racing, but two of Ireland’s top coaches, Henry de Bromhead and Willie Mullins, have joined the race with a raider each.
The race should take place on good ground as it stands, although rain is expected overnight and tomorrow (6-8mm).
1. Captain Guinness
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead; Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
A passionate and quality rookie hunter last season who finished third for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, he started this campaign satisfactorily with a four and three-quarter length success in the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase in Naas.
While he was visually good, the form of this race doesn’t look good enough in the context of this Tingle Creek.
He also jumped and tweaked to the left in places last time around, so it remains to be seen if going right-handed here will do.
He has the right to improve and will take advantage of the beautiful ground but needs a big career of better and / or others to underperform badly to win.
2. Everyone For Himself
Willie Mullins; Patrick mullin
He’s a little-run nine-year-old who overcame strength issues early in his career to become a top hunter.
A great traveler and fluid jumper when he sings, he might be a little happier as a right-hander, based on his two freshman wins at Leopardstown last season.
He disappointed in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham but perhaps over-traveled after a freshman gallop and was too rambunctious in his jumps. As it turns out, he got tired late at the top of the hill, but bounced back in superb style to beat Allaho in Punchestown.
This form makes him the horse to beat if he can breed it on his seasonal debut on good ground.
Paul Nicholls; Bryony frost
He trained incredibly well in last season’s Champion Chase (beaten by two lengths) having been in one of the worst positions tactically and running wide in places.
He took another step forward next time around to win the Grade One Celebration Chase at this course and this distance which was the best in his career and better trained than the distance beaten in the Haldon Gold Cup last time on a Ground too soft in what his trainer said was preparation for this race.
He needs to improve on this, but he probably will. Others are better jumpers, but the likely good terrain and a certain pace for running will be a big plus for this frequent traveler.
Paul Nicholls; Harry cobden
Hitman finished second and third in two freshman pursuits last season, including one at this course and at a distance behind Allmankind in the pursuit of novice Henry VIII.
He travels well and is a good jumper when he sings and has the comfortable form of the best horse when he is second in the Haldon Gold Cup, possibly needing to run on soft ground.
The slight drop in distance here, two miles, and the return to faster ground will do, but little about his form suggests he’s good enough to win here, as he’s likely to improve as he goes. as the campaign progresses.
5. Nube Negra
Dan Skelton; Harry skelton
Strong traveler, slippery and progressive jumper, the seven-year-old enters the race on the back of a career best, defeating Political Scientist by six lengths smoothly in the second-year Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
He struggled a bit not to win last season’s Champion Chase where he was given too much to do and picked him up too late when a final punch didn’t help.
He proved that the race was no fluke last time around and that he needs to be taken seriously now.
The only concern is can it save quickly after 20 days?
Despite Shishkin’s absence, we still have an intriguing 2021 Tingle Creek renewal, with a few Irish raiders adding to what is one of National Hunt’s great races historically.
While friendly horses who will enjoy the terrain and likely improve as the season progresses, Captain Guinness and Hitman don’t enjoy this level in any known form. This leaves us with three options, Each For Self, Greaneteen and Nube Negra.
As the prices suggest, Each For Himself is the most likely winner, but he concedes fitness to his two main market rivals, will likely race the fastest terrain he has ever faced and has a new jockey in the game. edge, Patrick Mullins.
Not much separates Greaneteen (5/1) and Nube Negra (5/2) in terms of audience, but with Paul Nicholls’ inmate being twice as expensive he gets the green light. GREENETEENIt’s been this course and this distance that has been the best of his career, and he will appreciate coming back to a firmer surface. It’s not as slick as Each Pour Soi or Nube Negra, so it will need a good Bryony Frost ride.
Hopefully his form can say on Each Pour Soi with Nube Negra a candidate not to be up to par, given his excellent fresh record.