The big race this weekend is the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park and I am on one nice and early.
Sadly, Shishkin will not run, in fairness to connections they let everyone know nice and early with Nicky Henderson making the announcement last month. Five-time Grade One winner Chacun Pour Soi is now the jolly and the obvious place to start coming across the Irish Sea for the race. He is top-rated by some margin, goes well fresh so this being his first start of the campaign is of little concern and the ground looks pretty much perfect. In short, the Willie Mullins trained nine-year-old looks a pretty solid bet at 11-8 which I have taken on Monday. He looks likely to be joined in the race by stable mate Allaho, who was five-and-a-half lengths behind him when the pair last met in the Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival at the end of April. If they both run Mullins will have a very strong hand.
As for the home team, the Dan Skelton trained Nube Negra was the winner of the G.2 Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on his most recent start when he beat last season's Tingle Creek winner Politologue by six lengths. He looks the biggest danger to the favourite from these shores if improving again but he was beaten a fair way in the aforementioned Champion Chase at Punchestown when third back in April. I know he was half-a-length in front of the jolly at Cheltenham in the March but that was more about Chacun Pour Soi being below par that day I think. Greaneteen is decent but was well held on his seasonal debut in the G.2 Haldon Gold Cup and needs to improve 10lb or so to win this. Defi Du Seuil has been left in at the confirmation stage but I will be amazed if he runs and even more amazed if he won after his latest effort when beaten 35 lengths in the G.2 1965 Chase.Be lucky