Vibrato Valtat Can Give Nicholls Another Tingle
Sandown’s Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday (3pm) has again attracted a top-class line-up in which Paul Nicholls will seek an eighth victory in the race since 2005.
Tingle No.8 For Nicholls?
Representing Nicholls on Saturday is last season’s Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase winner, Vibrato Valtat (2/1), who took the aforementioned event over Saturday’s C&D 12 months ago. This 6yo showed his wellbeing by landing a Grade 2 at Exeter last month (2m1f, soft), where Sire De Grugy (7/1) was beaten 39l.
Not that Saturday’s contest will prove easy for Vibrato Valtat, who ideally prefers racing in fields with fewer runners (all career wins came with five runners or less), plus the fact Simonsig (3/1) will be in opposition.
Simonsig The Danger
Nicky Henderson’s 9yo has been there and done it down the years, including victory in the 2013 Arkle, but missed all of last season through injury.
But, having finished second to Bobs Worth over hurdles last month (2m4f), he showed there is some sparkle still there.
While Saturday’s 2m trip will be sharp, a strong gallop could bring his stamina into play.
One of those who could set a good pace is Henry De Bromhead’s 8yo, Special Tiara (9/2), who took the Grade 1 Celebration Chase over C&D last April. In need of his return when beaten 50l at Navan last month, Special Tiara should come on for that outing and will hold a solid chance should any rain arrive.
The only concern is Special Tiara’s age, as is the case with Simonsig, with those younger having emerged best in recent times.
Of the last 10 Tingle Creek winners…
10 returned 6/1 or shorter
10 won during last three runs
9 made the top two last time
8 were 5-7yo’s
8 won a Grade 1 chase
7 were officially rated 167 or higher
P Nicholls won it seven times
The jury remains out regarding Sire De Grugy, who has won just a handicap since landing the 2014 Celebration Chase over C&D, and was a well beaten last behind Vibrato Valtat last month. Sire De Grugy certainly has the class, but will need to roll back the years if landing this prize.
As for those at big prices, then punters may want to consider some each-way value should the eight runners stand their ground, and Somersby has to be given a chance.
Runner-up in the last two renewals of the Tingle Creek, this 11yo may be getting on…
…but was second to Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham last month (albeit beaten 14l), and can be relied upon to put in a solid round.
A combination of Paul Nicholls’ superb record in this race, and the fact younger horses outperformed their elders points up Vibrato Valtat. Although he may prefer a smaller field of runners, he goes well here and will enjoy having a good gallop to aim at.
*Prices correct at time of publication