Now with the jump season in full flow, we go to Sandown for the Betfair Tingle Creek Christmas Festival Chase Day. Held over two days, the Betfair Tingle Creek is arguably the biggest festival held at the racecourse throughout the year, and I for one cannot wait!
The festive chase day attracts crowds of racing fans and horses from afar for a high-quality day of racing. The race is steeped in history with the event first run in 1979, the name Tingle Creek comes from the national hunt racehorse in the 1970s. It has a list of impressive winners includes Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and last year’s winner UN De Sceaux.
Having been brought up around the area and working at the racecourse during my university days, the festival (especially the Saturday) has become synonymous for hosting stag and hen doos. This is no surprise given the quality of the racing and the facilities the surrounding area has to offer, especially after the racing.
With easy transport links from London and just a short walk from Esher station to the racecourse it is a great way to spend your Saturday with family and friends watching some high-quality racing and a great way to kick off the festive season.
Sandown Park in itself is one of my favorite racecourses in this country. Boasting fantastic views overlooking the lights of London on one side and the Surrey countryside on the other, it really is a unique view which is only rivaled by its near neighbour, Epsom Downs.
Not only that but the facilities in the racecourse are superb. Ample bar and food facilities means you rarely have to que for a significant time for refreshments. Something which sadly cannot be said for all racecourses.
Enough about that, let’s get to the important stuff! So, who and what can we be expecting to see on the track over the two days? Well, as cute as he might be Teddy the Shetland is going to have to watch this one from the sidelines as the big guns battle this one out. The big race of the two days is the 2:55 on the Saturday.
Run over a distance of 1m 7 1/2f, there are many high-class horses in the race which include Fox Norton who is coming of the back of 3 wins in a row trained by Colin Tizzard, who has been tipped as second favouite at 2/1. However, current markets have a clear leader in Douvan priced at ⅘. Any surprises? I certainly think not. A first run since the 15th March for this 7yo who finished a surprising 7th at the Cheltenham Festival last year. However, don’t let that statistic fool you as he has won the last 14 races previously to this shock result. In fact, it’s hard to see past this horse not claiming his 15th victory on Saturday.
The lack of value may force some punters to look elsewhere, even at this early stage. Despite being favourite, Jenkins in the 2:20 priced at 4/1 looks like decent value to me. A somewhat inconsistent horse who shows glimpses of the potential he has to offer is up against a field with very similar qualities. However, Jenkins, who is trained by Nicky Henderson, for me has the edge over the field.
And it’s not too late to get your tickets for the Tingle Creek. Book them now through Racing Breaks and avoid the high price of paying on the day!