Nicky Henderson’s Altior heads an impressive field of 10 entries, which includes four Irish-trained horses, for the £150,000 Grade 1 Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on Saturday.
The eight-year-old Altior, unbeaten in all of his nine starts over fences, was last seen when taking the Grade 1 bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown Park last April, having already won the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grade 2 Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury.
The Irish challenge for the race is headed by Willie Mullins’ Un De Sceaux, the last Irish-trained horse to win the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase when successful in 2016. The 10-year-old, a nine-time Grade 1 winner, is joined by his stable companion Min, runner up to Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the JP McManus-owned Great Field, a winner of all five of his chase starts in Ireland, and Henry de Bromhead’s 11-year-old three-time Grade 1 winner Special Tiara, a former winner of the Grade 1 bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown in 2015.
The main opposition to the favourite Altior, in a race where there have been six winning favourites in the last ten runnings, may come in the shape of Alan King’s Sceau Royal, winner of the Grade 2 Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on November 18.
Saint Calvados, a very useful novice last season and victor of the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick, should also pose a strong challenge to Nicky Henderson’s charge.
The Tom George-trained God’s Own finished third to Altior at Cheltenham and Sandown and re-opposes again on Saturday, while the two outsiders for the race are Nigel Hawke’s Speredek and Kerry Lee’s Gino Trail.