Won by the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy, Master Minded and Un De Sceaux in recent years, the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown is always a race to savour and is one of the season’s top two mile chases. Some of the genuine superstars of the chasing game take to the track here in a race which has been won by a number of legends of the game.
First run in 1979, the steeplechase is named after the horse Tingle Creek who became a firm favourite amongst racing enthusiasts during the 1970’s thanks to his bold front running style and weight defying performances. The Esher track in particularly suited his running style, winning the Pattern Handicap there three times in six runnings, finishing as runner-up in the other three.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 5th December 2020
- Winner: Politologue
- SP: 11/8
- Trainer: Paul Nicholls
- Jockey: Harry Skelton
This Grade 1 chase contest over a trip of 1m7½f offers £120,000 in total prize money and acts as one of the major National Hunt events of the season at the Esher venue of Sandown Park. This year’s edition looks set to take place on soft ground and whilst much of the attention on Saturday will be on Aintree, this is certainly one race very much worth checking out from Sandown. We have a small field of just six going to post but there are some cracking horses going to post, headed, of course, by Altior.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||1m7½f||Grade 1||£120,000||6 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Tingle Creek Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls has had his fair share of star chasers over the years, and it is he who is way out in front at the head of the trainer’s table here with an impressive 10 previous successes in the race. Nicholls sends out 2017 champ Politologue and the up and coming Greaneteen this time around and if the favourite is beaten there is every chance Nicholls will be responsible.
The likes of Moscow Flyer, Desert Orchid, Sizing Europe and Sire De Grugy all managed to land this at nine years of age or older, but overall 34 of the 40 renewals to date have been won by a runner aged between five and eight. Can the mighty Altior, who won as an eight year old in 2018, make a mockery of such trends or should we be looking to one of the younger horses?
The market leaders boast an excellent recent record in this, with no fewer than seven of the past 10 favourites or joint favourites having come home in front. There have been some pretty short prices in amongst that lot, but that return has still been enough to hand favourite backers a profit of £3.89 to £1 level stakes. Altior himself was 8/13, whilst the incomparable Sprinter Sacre was just 4/11 in 2012 and the longest priced winner of the last 10 renewals was Dodging Bullets at 9/1 in 2014.
Indeed, that odds trend is one of the strongest to consider in the last 20 runnings of this famous contest, with no horse going in at a double-digit price in that period. Indeed, 19 of the last 20 winners have come from within the top three of the market, so we have to feel any upset is unlikely here.
|Altior||10/11||172||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|Politologue||9/2||169||Paul Nicholls||Harry Skelton|
Altior – 10/11
Always a much-anticipated contest, it is perhaps even more so than usual this year, as the 2020 edition sees the return to the track of one of the modern superstars of the game – dual Champion Chase king, Altior. Now 10 years old he does have the age trend against him, but if any chaser has the ability to join the great Moscow Flyer as the only horse to win this after his 10th birthday, it is surely this brilliant son of High Chaparral.
The question facing punters of course is whether he still retains that ability. The market does appear to have some doubts, as having been sent off at 1/3, 1/3, and 1/6 in his three most recent starts, he is close to the even money mark here. That is not a price we have seen since the 2018 Champion Chase (when Altior delivered the goods in fine style by seven lengths at evens), so of course it is easy to argue it is huge value if you are of a positive disposition.
However, it has to be said that Altior also arrives on the back of season which won’t go down as his finest, having been raced just twice during the 2019/20 campaign. All of the past 20 winners of this had raced between three and six times in the past year, so this is another trend against him.
A planned tilt at the King George was ended by Cyrname at Ascot, whilst he then missed his attempt at a third Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival due to injury. Sandwiched in between that though he showed plenty of sparkle when slamming Sceau Royal and Dynamite Dollars at Newbury when powering home late in trademark style.
Those keen to back him will rightly say that his overall record in 2m chases is faultless. 15 runs, 15 wins including no fewer than five over this course and distance, seven on soft ground and nine in Grade 1 company. Reportedly doing well at home, if he is at his best it will take something out of the ordinary to stop him.
Politologue – 9/2
Rouge Vif and Greaneteen are the up and comers in the chasing division in this year’s field, and whilst the best may be yet to come from the pair, neither have yet shown enough to suggest they could threaten Altior should he be within even a few pounds of his best. One horse who may just be able to expose any chinks in the old boy’s armour though is the reigning Champion Chase king, Politologue.
A dual Grade 1 winner having landed this race back in 2017 in addition to this season’s Cheltenham Festival heroics, those two top level victories had one thing in common – namely that Altior wasn’t in the field. In three previous clashes with the Nicky Henderson star, Politolgue has been beaten 4l, 23l, and 1¾l when getting closer than ever in the 2019 Champion Chase.
Optimists may suggest that the most recent meeting shows that the gap between the two is closing, and that Altior won’t have to have declined much at all in order for the roles to be reversed. Expect Politologue to attack from the front here and put in the type of bold jumping performance which saw him rout the 2020 Champion Chase field to the tune of 9½l.
If able to put in a similar display, this may well come down to whether Altior still has enough in the tank to put in that power packed finish as they come up the hill. We don’t have long to wait to find out and, whoever wins, we are surely set for a brilliant battle.
Tingle Creek Chase Winners
|2020||Politologue||11/8||Paul Nicholls||Harry Skelton|
|2019||Defi Du Seuil||2/1||Philip Hobbs||Barry Geraghty|
|2018||Altior||8/13||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2017||Politologue||7/2||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|2016||Un De Sceaux||5/4||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2015||Sire De Grugy||10/3||Gary Moore||Jamie Moore|
|2014||Dodging Bullets||9/1||Paul Nicholls||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2013||Sire De Grugy||7/4||Gary Moore||Jamie Moore|
|2012||Sprinter Sacre||4/11||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2011||Sizing Europe||11/8||Henry De Bromhead||Andrew Lynch|
About the Tingle Creek Chase
Ask any veteran of the racing scene and they might well recall fond memories of 1970s superstar Tingle Creek. So many of the flamboyant chestnut’s most memorable displays came at Sandown so it’s only fitting that it’s here where a race is named in his honour. The distance couldn’t be any more suitable either as Tingle Creek was very much a two-mile chase specialist despite not looking like one, nor being bred to be one.
While initially a handicap affair during its earlier days, since 1994 this race has carried Grade 1 status. This change in classification proved enough to bring Champion Chase winner Viking Flagship to Sandown that year and he produced the goods on his seasonal debut. So many elite chasers have continued to win this race since then, including the likes of Moscow Flyer, Kauto Star and Sizing Europe. It remains one of the leading minimum distance races on the National Hunt calendar and one that regularly involves Champion Chase hopefuls and winners.
THE MAKING OF CHAMPIONS
Tingle Creek himself never won the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but the race in his honour has regularly produces winners of Cheltenham’s most cherished two mile race. Although the two races are separated by around three months, the result here is one you definitely ought to look at ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. If a horse can handle the two miles and 13 fences at Sandown, as well as the classy field that almost always assembles, they are certainly worth adding to the Festival short list.
It’s often been the case that the winner of the Tingle Creek is the same name later crowned king of the Champion Chase as you can see below. Missing from the chart is 2016 winner Un De Sceaux, who took a different approach, instead competing, and winning, the two and a half mile Ryanair Chase. The 2000 Tingle Creek winner, Flagship Uberalles, was denied a tilt at the 2001 Champion Chase due to the foot-and-mouth crisis.
Paul Nicholls is responsible for many of the entries featuring on the above chart and his record in this race is completely unrivalled. In 2017, the 11-time British jump racing Champion Trainer made it win number 10, less than two decades after enjoying his first Tingle Creek success. Consistently able to churn out some of the most talented minimum distance chasers, you’d be wise to always take any of his entries in this race seriously.
FLYING THE FLAGSHIP
Double winners have been a regular feature of this race over the years, with News King first to manage the feat back in the Tingle Creek’s handicap days, followed by Long Engagement and Waterloo boy. The trend has continued under Grade 1 status with 7 additional horses pulling off the double since.
Three victories is something only managed by one horse though, the brilliant Flagship Uberalles, who also won the Champion Chase in his illustrious career. First winning as a five-year-old, the youngest horse ever to win the two mile contest, the half-brother of Viking Flagship then proceeded to outdo his relative in this race. Two further victories followed, both under completely different trainers, for what is one of the most unique hat-tricks you are ever likely to see.
FLAGSHIP UBERALLES’ GRADED RACE VICTORIES
|Month & Year||Race||Grade||Trainer||Odds||Winnings|
|April 2003||Punchestown Champion Chase||1||Philip Hobbs||8/1||€75k|
|March 2002||Queen Mother Champion Chase||1||Philip Hobbs||7/4 F||£128k|
|December 2001||Tingle Creek||1||Philip Hobbs||7/2||£46k|
|December 2000||Tingle Creek||1||Noel Chance||3/1 F||£32k|
|February 2000||Game Spirit Chase||2||Paul Nicholls||1/4 F||£25k|
|December 1999||Tingle Creek||1||Paul Nicholls||10/3||£39k|
|November 1999||Haldon Gold Cup||2||Paul Nicholls||7/4 F||£19k|
|April 1999||Maghull Chase||1||Paul Nicholls||5/2 JF||£33k|
|March 1999||Arkle Chase||1||Paul Nicholls||11/1||£57k|
|February 1999||Kingmaker Chase||2||Paul Nicholls||9/4||£16k|
Flagship Uberalles actually stood a really good shot of making it four Tingle Creek wins too but an awful stumble over one of the fences ensured this didn’t happen. The mistake in 2002 did however put a near immediate end to Moscow Flyer’s race as Jessica Harringotn’s runner was unable to avoid the stumbling 15/8 favourite. Such was the strength of the collision, Barry Geraghty flew off the saddle as Moscow Flyer’s Sandown debut ended in disaster. He would return the following two years to win but the initial forced failure denied him from matching Flagship’s hat-trick.
CHELTENHAM COMES TO THE RESCUE
Frosty conditions in 1983 forced the abandonment of the Tingle Creek chase and in 2000 there was danger of another cancellation until Cheltenham stepped in. By this time it was a race that needed to be saved and without it, Flagship Uberalles may never have pulled off his unrivalled trio of victories.
10 years after saving the day, Cheltenham was again called into action due to freezing temperatures and snowfall at Sandown. It hosted the 2010 Tingle Creek just a week later than initially scheduled, causing virtually no disruption to the National Hunt schedule, and allowing the brilliant Master Minded to claim his part in the race’s history. As a slight aside for the trivia fans, it should be noted that the two runnings at Cheltenham were over a slightly longer distance of two miles, 110 yards, rather than the standard two miles.