Cheltenham Races

Longshot Ted: Nicholls can make it an untouchable eleven

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Politologue is aiming to win the Tingle Creek for the second time in three years.
Politologue is aiming to win the Tingle Creek for the second time in three years.

In the latest edition of his weekly column, Ed Quigley picks out his best bet in Saturday's big race at Sandown, the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase, which looks an open renewal in the absence of Altior...

The Tingle Creek is one of my favourite races of the year, and this pre-Christmas cracker will once again make for compelling viewing. This year's contest is full of intrigue with the veteran class-act Un De Sceaux in the line-up, and the emergence of Defi Du Seuil as the pretender to the throne as the king of the two-mile division. 

It doesn't really get flagged up enough in my opinion, but the transformation of Defi Du Seuil from a horse who looked a spent force last start over hurdles and again when last of five on chase debut, to the level he is now, has to rate as one of Philip Hobbs' greatest training feats. The six-year-old landed last season's JLT (of which the form looks terrific) and comes into this encounter on the back of winning the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham last month, in which he got the better of POLITOLOGUE in what turned into a dash for the line after the last flight. However I think the Paul Nicholls representative looks to have sound claims of reversing the form here. The eight-year-old was trying to concede 3 lb to Hobbs' charge last time out, and with a more fluent jump at the last flight may have got closer than the length and-a-quarter he managed in that Grade 2 contest. An interesting comment from Harry Cobden in the aftermath suggested "perhaps we could have gone quicker", and that could well be the key in this race. I think Politologue is the superior jumper of a fence, as he demonstrated beautifully when landing the 2017 renewal of this. 

It is true that Defi Du Seuil has top-class form at Sandown, but over a longer distance, and I think that over the minimum trip, Cobden can turn the screw and really apply pressure in the jumping department to the Philip Hobbs representative. I thought it was an interesting observation from Ruby Walsh on Racing TV who expressed that "Defi doesn't jump like a two-miler", and whilst I have no doubting the class of the horse, the likelihood of lots of pace at the head of affairs from Un De Sceaux and a closely pursuing Politologue will see him face his sternest test over this distance to date. Politologue, on his second start after a wind-operation gets to tackle him off level weights this time around, and looks value to land this for the second time.

Of the others, Waiting Patiently has to be respected, but is on a bit of a fact-finding mission, and if there was a joker in the pack Janika could be the one. If the ground comes up soft, I think the Nicky Henderson representative could be a big danger to all, and this unexposed sort arrives here on the back of a convincing success when giving weight to his rivals in the Haldon Gold Cup. The same owners also have the high-class chaser Sceau Royal, and it is possible that both horses could take their chance, although the Alan King runner would probably swerve the contest if ground conditions are too testing.

Advice:

Tingle Creek, Sandown, Saturday 7th December 2019 - Politologue, 1pt win at 9/2 (SkyBet, Betfair, Paddy Power)

Tip

15:00 Sandown
Politologue silk

Politologue

lost

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