Bookies row in with Zeb for Creek

Irish raider short price for Sandown two-mile test in absence of Master Minded

Despite the injury-enforced absence of the reigning two-mile champion chaser Master Minded, the race that should have been his next assignment is still shaping up as a fascinating contest. Or perhaps that should read because of it. The line-up for Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase is likely to include the horses perceived as most likely to dethrone the dual Queen Mother Champion Chase king at Cheltenham in March. And it doesn't do to have a definitive showdown this early.

As it is, with Master Minded off games until next year because of a stress fracture to a rib, the anticipation and debate can continue. Two of the best Irish horses in the division, Big Zeb and Forpadydeplasterer, have been confirmed for the Grade One Sandown prize; the home defence is to be led by Well Chief and Twist Magic.

Big Zeb, who came within a head of beating Master Minded in April, is a short-priced favourite for the Keith Prowse-sponsored weekend encounter, for which he warmed up with a seasonal debut victory at Navan 23 days ago that was little more than paid exercise. "He was always going to be better for that run," said his trainer, Colm Murphy, yesterday, "and his latest homework went very well. There's no question that with Master Minded not being there his task is easier, but there are still some very good ones in the race."

Forpadydeplasterer, who won the two-mile novice title, the Arkle Trophy, at Cheltenham in March, will travel over with Big Zeb on Thursday. The seven-year-old was beaten on this term's comeback, second in testing conditions at Down Royal over half a mile further than Saturday's assignment. "I was just happy to get a run into him," said Tom Cooper of his charge, "and the good-to-soft ground at Sandown should suit perfectly."

The two Irish contenders are the new kids on the block; Well Chief, who has recovered from the slight leg injury sustained when he won at Cheltenham 16 days ago, has been round it a few times. The 10-year-old, one of the best horses to have competed in the Champion Chase and never won it, has run some of his best races at Sandown, notably his Tingle Creek third place to Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop five years ago. He is sharing second spot in Saturday's market with the dual course winner Twist Magic, Master Minded's stable-mate.

The Irish are currently banjaxed by rain-sodden racecourses at home and prospects for sport tomorrow at Fairyhouse, which was to stage the three Grade One contests lost to waterlogging with the track's fixture on Sunday, are not high. But it's an ill wet wind that blows nobody good and racegoers at Ayr tomorrow may have the pleasure of seeing one of Ireland's most exciting prospects return to action. Captain Cee Bee holds an entry in the novice chase. "He's in at Naas on Thursday and Navan on Saturday as well," said his trainer, Eddie Harty, "and while I'd rather travel 10 miles up the road than go to Scotland, I need to get him out on a racecourse."

Even at this time of year, the Flat game's personalities still make their presence felt. Yesterday, one of last year's best middle-distance fillies, Lush Lashes, acquired a price tag of 1.8 million guineas (£1,890,000) in the Tattersalls auction ring in Newmarket. Her trainer and part-owner, Jim Bolger, bought out his partner in the triple Group One-winning four-year-old, who will start her career as a broodmare with a visit next spring to the court of Sea The Stars.

Turf account: Sue Montgomery


Recif de Thaix (2.10 Hereford)

Shaped well enough on his debut over fences and, though likely to come into his own over further than the minimum trip, gets all the allowances today.

Next best

If I Were A Boy (1.30 Lingfield)

Certainly has the ability to win a race of this type and can finally do so with the help of cheekpieces to concentrate the mind for the first time.

One to watch

Himalayan Trail (Mrs S J Smith) was beaten a long way when third at Carlisle on Sunday, but did well enough to suggest that he can soon win again under less exacting conditions now his rating has slipped.

Where the money's going

Niche Market was cut from 33-1 to 25-1 in SkyBet's Grand National prices yesterday.

*Chris McGrath's Nap

Lord Generous (1.20 Southwell)

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam