ITV Racing Tips: Will Greaneteen tingle and Altior creek at Sandown?
Ed Chamberlin and co. have a substantial afternoon of racing for us on ITV this Saturday, including Altior’s hotly-anticipated return in the Tingle Creek and a mouth-watering renewal of the Many Clouds Chase.
Fans are back too, and hopefully there won’t be a scotch egg in sight as some of National Hunt’s tier one horses do battle on a magnificent eight-race card across a pair of tier two tracks in Aintree and Sandown. It’s all set up to be a cracking few hours on the box, and we’ve previewed three of the biggest races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Altior is a worthy favourite for the Tingle Creek, but there’s plenty of reason to be against the two-time Champion Chase winner. For one, Nicky Henderson’s inmate isn’t getting any younger. Altior is a 10-year-old now and missed more races than he started last season, which means he heads into this off the back of a 302-day absence.
A significant break hasn’t bothered him before, but this will be the longest lay-off he’s had in his racing career, and that could leave him vulnerable against a horse like Greaneteen. The six-year-old has won on four of his five runs over fences and was unlucky in his only defeat in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham in March.
Trainer Paul Nicholls must’ve known he had a good one on his hands, because the Ditcheat handler was already talking about a Tingle Creek bid before the horse edged out Moonlighter in a thrilling renewal of the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last month.
He was given a confident ride by Harry Cobden that afternoon, and with conditions set to suit the soft and heavy-going winner, there’s every reason to believe the progressive challenger can put it up to Altior and give Nicholls a real chance of winning an 11th renewal of the race.
Of the remainder, Politologue hasn’t bested Altior in their three meetings, despite his Champion Chase win last term, while Rouge Vif would prefer a slightly sounder surface.
Many Clouds was one of the most-loved racehorses around before his passing in 2017, and we reckon the Grand National hero would be suitably impressed with the line-up for this race which is named in his honour.
Frodon, Native River and Santini are all genuine Gold Cup contenders, and any one of the three could realistically take this contest en-route to the Festival in March. It’s no secret that we love Frodon, and while the Cheltenham hero produced another incredible effort to win a Prestbury Park Handicap in October, this might be beyond him.
Main rival Santini has won on each of his three seasonal debuts for Nicky Henderson and should enjoy the sharp three-mile trip on offer here on his first run of the campaign. He appears to be the one to beat on that basis and taking into account his herculean effort to finish runner-up in the Gold Cup last March.
Native River shouldn’t be discounted either because he also has an excellent record when fresh, but the relative youth of Santini could see him home with the potential for more improvement to come.
No horse has won the Becher Chase in three consecutive years, but that could be about to change if Walk In The Mill gets his way once again. Robert Walford’s 10-year-old is now under serious consideration to become a fifth member of the Beatles given his affiliation with Liverpool after having won this race in both 2018 and 2019 and finishing fourth in the 2019 Grand National.
Doubters may point to his poor prep-run at Ascot in October, but that follows a similar trend in the run up to this contest over the last two seasons when he was well-beaten at Cheltenham and pulled up at Wincanton. That run will have blown the cobwebs off the veteran who remains well-handicapped and can go challenge once again around his favourite hunting ground.
Dangers include Le Breuil, who shaped well in this race 12 months ago off a 9lb higher mark, dour stayer Yala Enki, who posted a solid runner-up effort behind Ramses De Teillee at Cheltenham and Kimberlite Candy, who finished second a year ago and subsequently proved a wide-margin winner of the Classic Chase at Warwick.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 5th December
13:30 Aintree – Becher Handicap Chase
13:50 Sandown – Henry VIII Novices’ Chase
14:05 Aintree – Best Odds Guaranteed Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle
14:25 Sandown – Tingle Creek
14:40 Aintree – Many Clouds Chase
15:00 Sandown – London National Handicap Chase
15:15 Aintree – Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
15:35 Sandown – December Handicap Hurdle
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing