Betfair Tingle Creek 2017: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide
Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown...
"As good as ever when winning five-runner Shloer Chase last time (for second successive year) by eight lengths from Cloudy Dream..."
Betfair Tingle Creek
Saturday, 9th December
1. AR MAD (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore)
Very smart front-runner who completed four-timer in 2015/16, including Henry VIII Novices Chase here and Wayward Lad Novices Chase at Kempton. Lightly-raced since, managing just one start last season (three and a half-length fourth to Un de Sceaux in this race). Easy to back on return from 11 months off when pulled up in Haldon Gold Cup won by Politologue at Exeter last time, ridden in a style that wouldn't have suited (held up). Capable of better here, but needs to bounce back.
2. CHARBEL (Kim Bailey/Noel Fehily)
Looked a little rusty when fourth to London Prize in Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last time, but should come on for that pipe-opener. Very smart form from the front over fences last season, winning hot race at Uttoxeter (by three quarters of a length from Le Prezien), and still in front when falling two out in Arkle Chase won by Altior at Cheltenham later that season. Tries cheekpieces for the first time here. Also has alternative entry in Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on Sunday.
3. FOX NORTON (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power)
Top-class chaser whose four wins in 2016/17 included Melling Chase at Aintree (by six lengths from Sub Lieutenant) and Boylesports Champion Chase at Punchestown (by one and three quarter lengths from Un de Sceaux). Also head-second to Special Tiara in Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. As good as ever when winning five-runner Shloer Chase last time (for second successive year) by eight lengths from Cloudy Dream, leading approaching home turn and well on top finish. The class act in this field and the one to beat accordingly.
4. ORDINARY WORLD (Henry de Bromhead, Ireland/Barry Geraghty) NON-RUNNER
Won maiden at Fairyhouse (by four lengths from Attribution) in 2016/17, and placed in all five starts since (third in Arkle), including when shaping as if better for run when five lengths second of 6 to Ball d'Arc in Poplar Square Chase at Naas last time, no extra run-in. Needs to improve to play a major part here.
5. POLITOLOGUE (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
High-class chaser who won novice at Haydock, Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot and graduation event at Kempton (by 11 lengths from Pain Au Chocolat) in 2016/17. Ran up to best on reappearance when winning eight-runner Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last time by two and a quarter lengths from San Benedeto, despite idling two out. Progressive, acts on heavy going and unbeaten going right-handed, so plenty of reasons to expect another bold show.
6. SAN BENEDETO (Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield)
Very smart chaser who progressed well in 2016/17, winning six times including Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree (by head from Forest Bihan). Good efforts in defeat so far this term, finishing runner-up to stablemate Politologue in Haldon Gold Cup before two lengths fourth to Sir Valentino at Ascot last time. Not at best in two starts here, though, including when third of four in Celebration Chase last April. Looks up against it.
7. SIR VALENTINO (Tom George/Adrian Heskin)
Followed reappearance win in Haldon Gold Cup with five and a half lengths fifth in this this race last season, when also six lengths third to Special Tiara in Champion Chase. Pulled up in latest Haldon Gold Cup, but bounced back in style when landing Shawbrook Handicap Chase at Ascot last time by half a length from Cepage. Not one to take too lightly after that big performance (won from BHA mark of 159).
Timeform Tingle Creek 1-2-3
1. Fox Norton
3. Sir Valentino
Timeform Tingle Creek Analyst's Verdict
Hard to see past FOX NORTON, who looked every bit as good as ever when a ready winner on his Cheltenham return, although the manner of Politologue's Haldon Gold Cup success marks him down as a contender for top honours this term and he's likely to ensure Colin Tizzard's charge doesn't have things all his own way. Sir Valentino may prove best of the remainder.