Dodging Bullets handed Paul Nicholls a ninth winner of the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday and will now be primed for Champion Chase at Cheltenham, according to the trainer.
The six-year-old won at 9/1 for Nicholls, two and a half lengths from the veteran Somersby in a race that was marred by the fatal leg injury suffered by the popular Oscar Whisky.
However, it was Dodging Bullets that shone as he stayed on well to power home after taking the last infront and an impressed Nicholls will now point his chaser to Prestbury Park.
“The Champion Chase will be our aim now because he gets stronger and better,” Nicholls said. “We’re learning how to train him now, and if we can get him at his best at Cheltenham, he’ll definitely be there with a chance.”
The last two winners of the Tingle Creek at Sandown went on to win Cheltenham’s Champions Chase in March and Dodging Bullets is now a 10/1 chance with Ladbrokes to continue that trend.
Those two prior winners, Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy, lead the gelding in the Champions Chase market, with Sprinter Sacre the 7/2 favourite and the Gary Moore trained Sire De Grugy close behind at 4/1.
Earlier in the day, Nicholls claimed the Grade One Henry VIII Chase with Vibrato Valtat, while Nicky Henderson claimed a 209/1 treble with Caracci Apache, Cup Final and Snake Eyes.
Henderson’s day was soured with the news that Oscar Whisky, a chase and hurdle winner, was put down following the injuries he sustained in falling at the sixth in the day’s headline race.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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