Weekend Horse Racing Blog - Altior Makes Seasonal Bow in the Tingle Creek at Sandown

Altior and Politologue Look Vulnerable In Tingle Creek

The Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday is a major trial for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The odds-on favourite, Altior, and second favourite, Politologue, have won both races. However, a new breed could take over from the established order in the form of Greenetean and Rouge Vif.

These two horses are progressive and both have the potential to win at Sandown and go on to become leading contenders for the Champion Chase in March.

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Altior has won 15 chases from 16 starts and has only been beaten by Cyrname over fences. Significantly that reverse was Altior’s first race of the season on soft ground last November.

Politologue is the Champion Chaser who offers the betting value at 4/1 with bet365* but the nine-year-old had not won in six starts before winning the two miles championship chase at the festival. Greenetean and Rouge Vif are improving and worth backing at a combined odds of around 5/2.

Walk In The Mill Brings Aintree Factor To Becher Chase

There is another trial for a bigger race at Aintree on Saturday. The Becher Handicap Chase is run over three miles, one furlong and 188 yards of the full Grand National course.

There are 21 fences made up of seven Grand National obstacles on the first circuit and the 14 fences jumped on the second circuit, which replicates the Aintree marathon.

Since the race was introduced in 1992, two winners have won the National the following spring, Amberleigh House and Silver Birch.

Walk In The Mill has vast experience of the unique Aintree fences. The 7/1 chance with bet365* brings the Aintree factor. The 10-year-old has won the last two Becher Chases, carrying 10st 10lbs and 10st 4lbs in 2018 and 2019.

His weight this time is 11st 2lbs but Walk In The Mill was fourth behind Tiger Roll in the 2019 Grand National. There could be vulnerability to a horse receiving enough weight to compensate for lack of Aintree races and Coo Star Sivola looks an interesting alternative at 10/1 with bet365*.

The winner of the Becher Chase usually shortens up markedly in the betting for the Grand National.

Young And Old Also Feature At Aintree

Aintree also stages one of the few fillies’ juvenile hurdles, for which only horses age three qualify.

The best horses of this generation run in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, which is a Grade 1 race. It’s a four-year-olds only contest off level weights of 11st. However, there is a fillies and mares allowance of seven ponds. An impressive winner of Saturday’s race at Aintree could become a leading contender for the Triumph, carrying half a stone less than the male runners.

The Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree is also run over the National fences. The race distance is two miles and five furlongs, as is the Topham Chase and Foxhunters at the Aintree Grand National meeting.

On past form the veteran Might Bite is thrown in at the weights. The Grade 1 winning chaser showed plenty of the old enthusiasm in a handicap chase at Ascot in October carrying 11st 3lbs.

A seven pounds rise is manageable and 16/1with bet365* looks too big. Might Bite’s last win was at Aintree in April 2018, when he beat Bristol De Mai off level weights.

And finally…

Racegoers returned to the tracks this week for the first time since March 16 in a safe environment.

The new tier restrictions meant Ludlow had paying customers on Wednesday in a large open air space which made social distancing easier. Racecourses always carried a very minimal risk of transmission of the virus but it’s better late than never.