The Betfair Tingle Creek Preview

A few weeks ago, the Tingle Creek looked to be largely centred around Arkle winner Shishkin. However, for whatever reason, the seven-year-old was pulled from the race by trainer Nicky Henderson.

The decision has blown the race wide open. Chacun Pour Soi is now, unsurprisingly, 6/4 favourite, but is Willie Mullins’ gelding worth taking on?

Win Selection – Nube Negra (5/2)

Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra impressed as he pulled clear of a very decent field in the Shloer Chase last month – as some of you will have seen course-side – and he has every chance of making it two from two this season.

The gelding pulled six lengths clear of 2020 Tingle Creek winner Politologue and could have made it a double-figure winning margin had jockey Harry Skelton asked his mount to quicken sooner. He travelled brilliantly throughout the two-mile trip and always looked the winner from two-out.

Nube Negra is a great jumper – without jinxing it, he’s never fallen in his career – and he has plenty of gears to move through coming into the closing stages of races. He has a great turn of foot and stays on stoutly for pressure.

The seven-year-old was mightily unlucky not to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase earlier this year and the way he stayed on during the uphill finish suggested that he should have no trouble tackling Sandown, where he has raced once previously and finished second in 2019. With last month’s run now under his belt to set him straight for this race, Nube Negra looks like he has a great chance.

It is easy to see why Chacun Pour Soi is a firm favourite in the market, but the major concern for me is how he will cope with the incline at the finish. Although he made amends at Punchestown in the Champion Chase, the way that the gelding emptied on the Cheltenham hill was concerning.

The Mullins yard aren’t in their usual form so far this season and many appear to be needing the run, thus you have to question whether Chacun will be entirely ready for this race despite it having been a long-term target, supposedly.

The weather forecast for this week also tips the balance in the favour of Nube Negra, in my opinion, as it looks like we will have good ground on Saturday. Good to soft is the fastest ground that Chacun has ever raced on, whereas the Skelton horse has proven versatile in regards to the ground but good should see him to best effect.

In regards to the rest, Allaho (8/1) definitely needs further and will probably only be seen if Chacun is pulled from the race. Greaneteen (7/2) has a great chance and loves it around Sandown but, although Paul Nicholls said he would need the run, his reappearance wouldn’t strike a great amount of confidence into his backers.

Defi Du Seuil (25/1) and Cheddleton (100/1) both need to improve markedly if they are to have any say at the finish, though the latter should add pace to the race which is, of course, a bonus for Nube Negra. You can pick holes in Captain Guinness (12/1) and Hitman (14/1) though they aren’t without an each-way chance depending on how many lines up on the day.

With race fitness on his side, a good run previously under his belt at Sandown previously, proven form at courses with a steep uphill finish and the likelihood that he will get his desired ground, I’ll be backing NUBE NEGRA (5/2) for the Tingle Creek.