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Betfair Tingle Creek Chase runner-by-runner guide

By Danny Archer@dannyarchertv
Thu 1 Dec 2022

One of the great National Hunt races of the season takes centre-stage on Saturday with the latest running of the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park.

The two-mile chasing showpiece boasts that brilliant mix of a need for speed, matched with jumping fluidity which has seen illustrious stars of the sport including Desert Orchid, Kauto Star, Flagship Uberalles, Sprinter Sacre Altior and Moscow Flyer etch their names into the record books.

Six contenders were declared on Thursday - here’s a guide to each.


DUNVEGAN

Trainer: Pat Fahy Official rating: 162 Odds: 25/1

Progressed rapidly last term, landing a pair of valuable handicaps at Fairyhouse either side of Christmas before producing a career-best when second to Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase (Captain Guinness was a further four and three-quarter lengths behind in third). There’s no reason to doubt he is capable of further progression this term and he had a pipe-opener on the Flat last month. However, this requires a lot more from him and he seems unlikely to get the heavy ground that he seems to relish.


EDWARDSTONE

Trainer: Alan King Official rating: 161 Odds: 11/4

Britain’s top two-mile novice chaser last season, who enjoyed Grade One success in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park en route to Arkle glory at the Cheltenham Festival. Probably past his best for the season when second in top-level company at Aintree, he has been scheduled to make his eagerly awaited return at Cheltenham and then Ascot before being pulled out owing to quick ground. Connections will surely have to roll the dice sooner rather than later to get his season going and whilst a first foray into open company on his seasonal debut is a big ask, the eight-year-old is proven at the track.


FUNAMBULE SIVOLA

Trainer: Venetia Williams Official rating: 163 Odds: 25/1

His yard has hit form and this lad will not be inconvenienced if ground conditions remain unseasonably quick given most of his best form has come on good ground. A dual winner last term, including in the Game Spirit at Newbury, he produced a career-best when beaten just over eight lengths by Energumene in the Champion Chase. That race fell apart early, but it was still a cracking effort in defeat and that effort might have told when he disappointed in the Melling Chase. The seven-year-old could certainly outrun his odds, but a minor concern is his sole effort at Sandown two years ago where his jumping lacked its usual fluency.


GENTLEMAN DE MEE

Trainer: Willie Mullins Official rating: 164 Odds: 9/1

An interesting contender who took a while to warm to fences before recording a three-timer in the second half of last season, latterly plundering the Maghull Novices’ Chase at the expense of Edwardstone at Aintree. He proved disappointing on his comeback in the Poplar Square Chase at Naas, already being beaten when unseating his rider at the last. Plainly, that effort is miles off what will be needed here. He has questions to answer based on his comeback effort, if Willie Mullins opts to run him.


GREANETEEN

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Official rating: 171 Odds: 7/4

Produced a shock when landing this contest 12 months ago to give Paul Nicholls a twelfth win in the race. Soundly put in his place by Shishkin at Kempton over Christmas, before proving underwhelming at Leopardstown in February, he returned to form with a second win in the Celebration Chase back in April. There was also lots to like about his seasonal return when defying top-weight with a cracking win in the Haldon Gold Cup. Nicholls remains adamant that he could be a Champion Chase contender this season, but for me this is the equivalent for him at his beloved Sandown. The Ditcheat maestro is sure to have left no stone unturned and with Shishkin on the comeback trail, matched with the fact that Greaneteen is 3-4 over fences at the track, connections will surely look to make this a stiff test.


SHISHKIN

Trainer: Nicky Henderson Official rating: 176 Odds: 10/11

Henderson reveals more about Shishkn's bone condition

With 11 wins from 13 career starts, Shishkin is one of racing’s poster boys despite a disappointing end to an injury-interrupted campaign last term. He missed last year’s Tingle Creek, but readily brushed aside Greaneteen in the Desert Orchid Chase before a pulsating win over Energumene in the Clarence House Chase. However, he was pulled up early in the Champion Chase, on heavy ground, and was subsequently diagnosed with a rare bone condition. After pleasing in a gallop with Long Distance Hurdle winner Champ at Newbury a couple of weeks ago, all roads lead to Sandown. Interestingly, this will be his first start at the track and it will be fascinating to see how he takes to the challenges it provides. Purely on ratings, his rivals have upwards of 5lb to find, suggesting Shishkin could win without having to be at his best.


 Shishkin and Nico de Boinville after winning the Clarence House Chase (focusonracing.com)
Shishkin and Nico de Boinville after winning the Clarence House Chase (focusonracing.com)

Verdict

Defending champion Greaneteen is a leading player given his fine form at the track, while Edwardstone adds further spice to the mix and is a fascinating playing entering open company. However, SHISHKIN will be hard to beat if anywhere near his best. A fascinating tactical battle surely awaits and one of the sport’s top stars can hopefully put on a show.

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