It was really disappointing that neither Un De Sceaux or Simonsig will be lining up at Sandown tomorrow as the Tingle Creek is one of my favourite races in the calendar, we’ve seen some great battles down the years.
We’ve had the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Sizing Europe and Kauto Star take in the race in recent history, and it although there are some decent horses in this year’s renewal, it does look an under par one.
At the head of the market this year we have Vibrato Valtat, and I think he is totally opposable at the prices, I just can’t have him.
He won the Haldon Gold Cup in November, that was just an OK renewal of that race and he put in a really dodgy jump at the last.
He was a winner of the Henry VII Chase on this card last year, but he looks like a horse that only delivers when things go his own way, I wouldn’t want to be putting my money on a horse like that in a Grade 1.
Special Tiara was a course and distance winner when jumping particularly well to beat Sprinter Sacre at the end of last season in the Celebration Chase.
I made sure I got my spot near the last fence at Navan when he made his seasonal debut last month to see what I had hoped would be a monstrous leap, but he was unusually sloppy.
I’d be willing to put that down to the easy ground so hopefully he will be a bit more feisty on Saturday.
Where I’d be going with my money would be to an old stager that has been there and (nearly) done it.
Somersby is an 9/1 chance and I think he is just waiting to be backed to place.
He might not get his head in front often, but he always runs well in defeat, and I’d really fancy him to feature this weekend.
He’s finished second in this race twice before, and was the same position in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham, and I could potentially see him doing the same here with Nina Carberry on board.
His rating of 164 hasn’t fluctuated much in recent years, so there is nothing to suggest that he is on the downgrade and age is catching up with him.
With his previous record in the race, and this year’s renewal perhaps not the strongest, he’d definitely be my bet to make the frame at least.
I’m siding with the market at Aintree
The betting will tell you that the Becher Chase over the National fences is a real open affair, but I just cannot get away from one at the head of the betting in Goonyella.
Jim Dreaper’s charge only got as far as the first fence in this race last year, when unseating Jonathan Burke, but since then has been flying.
He won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter, before getting within a length of Wayward Prince in the Scottish National.
He’s returned to the track with a respectable third in a Grade 3 over hurdles, and I expect him to run a massive race here.
If the rain comes I’d be even more encouraged to back him as he is a real dour stayer, and exactly the type of horse that Dreaper excels with.
He will appreciate every drop that hits Aintree in the build up to the race to make it a real test for the field, and play to his strengths even more.
There is plenty of opposition for Ann and Alan Potts yard, with the likes of Unioniste for Paul Nicholls who has won this race twice in the last 10 years, and Grand National runner-up Saint Are, but conditions look to be cherry-ripe for the horse at the head of the betting.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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