Big wheels keep on turning, big races keep on coming, now we’re rolling all right! For the second Saturday running we are spoilt by some scintillating Grade One action over two miles.
Last weekend it was Buveur D’Air that rubberstamped his spot as top dog amongst the hurdlers and now Altior will attempt to follow suit by winning the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase winner has never been beaten in a jumps race, but he faces some proper threats now.
Saint Calvados to win @ 13/2
Just a quartet of runners go to post for the Tingle Creek for a fascinating renewal of one of the best races of the winter. Altior attempts to make it a ‘Perfect 10’ over fences and is the red-hot favourite to do just that. Opposing him seems tricky but, if he is to be cracked, it might be the up-and-coming Saint Calvados that does it.
Harry Whittington’s charge looked to have matured last month when he quashed Footpad in Ireland and it seems less likely he’ll engage in the sort of throat-cutting tactics that put paid to his hopes in the Arkle at Cheltenham back in March.
If Gavin Sheehan can convince him to take a lead from Un De Sceaux, who will give him the sort of pace he wants to aim at, he could have a big say in the final outcome, particularly if Altior hits the sort of flat spot that has become a trait in his racing. At the prices, Saint Calvados is worth a small interest in what promises to be a brilliant contest.
Don Poli each-way @ 10/1
As interesting a runner as we’ll find in the Becher Chase, and worth an each-way shout on his return from a long absence, Don Poli is a Grade One-winning staying chaser over three miles and fared well behind the likes of Don Cossack in a Cheltenham Gold Cup and Cue Card in an Aintree Bowl.
He was last spotted close behind Sizing John in an Irish Gold Cup before that rival went on to ultimate glory at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017.
He’s got a 664-day absence to overcome here although Don Poli is still just nine-years-old and Jack Kennedy’s presence suggests he is ready to do himself justice. If he’s fit and well and takes to these fences, his double-figure odds will surely look generous on a horse ready-made for this sort of test.
Ch’tibello each-way @ 12/1
Ch’tibello was running in elite company 12 months ago, chasing home My Tent Or Yours at close quarters in third in the International at Cheltenham and playing second fiddle to The New One and Elgin in Grade Twos at Haydock and Wincanton in the new year.
Now he turns up the Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle at Aintree and seemingly he isn’t even trainer Dan Skelton’s best hope of a winner on the betting. He’s unexposed over this longer trip and has been cut some slack by the assessor.
All three of his starts this season have come on good ground, whereas his standout form last term came with plenty give underfoot. This might be the day to catch him, with the market seemingly overlooking Ch’tibello on account of Harry Skelton siding with penalised stablemate Notwhatiam.
For all new customers, ComeOn! are currently offering a £10 free bet – make sure you sign up!