This past Saturday Sandown Park played host to its most prestigious jumps event, Tingle Creek. This is one of the biggest jumps events before Christmas and after attending already has me excited for Cheltenham Festival. Although the weather was bitterly cold I feel lucky that we managed to avoid any rain, sleet or snow unlike the punters up in Aintree that day. With 7 races on the card I was certain I would have a couple of winners, however, I am a favourite backer and unfortunately for me not one favourite came in that day! Although I didn’t have a winner the day was still great and Sandown is one of my favourite racecourses in the country because of its great viewing areas and ample bar space, it’s also within walking distance of home which is a real touch.
The first race of the day was a novices Hurdle and saw favourite Just A Sting take on 5 rivals. However it was not his day and second favourite Ainchea, trained by Colin Tizzard, won by a length to Whatswrongwithyou. The third race of the day saw Monbeg Oscar, a 2/1 favourite come in 6th, as you can probably guess this was another race for me to forget. However, it was a competitive race with Holly Bush Henry and Connectable battling it out until the end with Holly Bush Henry winning by a neck.
The fourth race of the day was the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase, which would see Finians Oscar take on Brain Power. The two had both been favourites at different points in the day and it seemed as though it was between either of those. However, after some poor jumping from Finians Oscar which left him last he was out of the race before the final 4 furlongs. Brain Power was doing well throughout the race until the final couple of fences where he slightly slowed his pace, and on the final jump he unseated jockey David Mullins leaving Sceau Royal to run on gamely and win the race by 11 lengths.
The penultimate race of the day was the Grade 1 The Tingle Creek Chase, which has been won by past greats Kauto Star, Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre. This year would see odds on favourite Fox Norton attempt to place his name amongst those past greats as Douvan had been pulled out of the race just 3 days prior. Going off at 8/13 in a 6 horse field I though Fox Norton was destined to win this, but Politologue had other ideas. In what was a great race Politologue lead over the final jump but saw Fox Norton chase him down on the final flat, however the last dash wasn’t enough as politologue won by half a length. In doing so he is now as short as 7/1 for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Tingle Creek has lived up to its reputation and was a great day for all, especially those who won some bets. Now we look forward to the next big race in the calendar, The King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing day, which will hopefully see the likes of Bristol di Mai, Thistlecrack, Might Bite and last years Gold Cup winner, Sizing John all battle it out.