It will swiftly become apparent at Sandown this afternoon why the Tingle Creek Chase is so well titled. It is named after both a rocket-propelled horse which Harry Thomson Jones used to ignite around Esher and also a sensation, one which hugely excites the body.
Unless something goes horribly wrong today it should be another race for a tingle. The fastest chasers over a course which rewards the speedy should provide a glorious spectacle. Blinking will not be an option.
The principal plot line in the latest renewal of the great race is the always appetising prospect of inter-generational challenge. It is decreed by the purists that the Arkle Chase victor from the Cheltenham Festival should then go on to challenge the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner. The beautiful scenario now occurs before spring in the Cotswolds as Azertyuiop challenges the established master in Moscow Flyer. It should be quite a sight.
Azertyuiop is ostensibly the No 1 of three entries from Paul Nicholls's crushingly powerful yard. The booking of Ruby Walsh sees to that. Yet the young pretender now finds himself with something to prove after crashing out at the first in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on his reappearance. That untimely departure means that race fitness is not the principal of his qualities today.
Moscow Flyer is, rather dauntingly, unbeaten in 10 completed starts over fences. But there are the non-completions as well, including this race 12 months ago. Then it was bedlam. The Irish horse ran into the back of Flagship Uberalles and pinged Barry Geraghty out of the saddle and into the Surrey air. Up to that point, it must be noted, he had not been jumping particularly fluently.
Flagship Uberalles is another who is back, in an effort to win this race for a fourth time, but it is a measure of its calibre that it would be a disturbing eventuality if he managed to do so.
The theme will be played as a match between the big two, even if both have exhibited flaws and neither has won in this acre. It may be that the Tingle Creek, months before the true target, will become a lightning conductor for shocks, in which case there are many reasons to look at Cenkos (next best 2.20), last year's winner.
With racing's continual need for refreshment, even Azertyuiop already has a replacement hovering stageside. He is stablemate Thisthatandtother, who earlier continues his fencing education in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase. Puntal is meant to be the danger here, but Martin Pipe's runner is more likely to be a danger to himself with the standard of his jumping.
A speculative choice is Chauvinist (1.45), who makes his chasing debut for Nicky Henderson. He does so with some bona fide hurdling form behind him, including a third spot in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Festival, where Thisthatandtother was lagging a further two places behind.
Seven Barrows also fields an interesting runner in the Listed handicap hurdle, in which Pipe's spectacularly promising Our Vic is the headline horse. That should create some sort of value about ISIO (nap 2.55), who was third in the Arkle Chase and is able to compete from a 19lb lower mark over hurdles.
At Chepstow, there is the stirring prospect that See More Business may be on the verge of recording his fourth win in the Rehearsal Chase. Yet there are no concessions here for the elderly and the near 14-year-old has to give away 6lb and more.
Despite his antiquity, See More Business has not been creaking greatly on the gallops at Ditcheat this week. Indeed, he gave Cenkos as much as he could handle in one piece of work. "He schooled well and he is in really serious order," Joe Tizzard, the jockey, said. "You honestly would never know that he is almost 14 as he acts like a horse five years younger.
"Twice he tried to run away with me in the field, and I am really looking forward to Chepstow."
With Keen Leader's propensity to throw in the odd cock-up and Sir Rembrandt's fall at Newbury still vivid, the dream can live on. See More Business (2.10) can do it for punters, he can do it for fairy stories.
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