Tag Archive for: Tingle Creek Chase

Sandown racegoers roar home Frost and Greaneteen

Bryony Frost, by any standards, had endured a roller-coaster of a week.

Frost had spent three days this week at a hearing into charges of threatening and abusive behaviour towards her by fellow jockey Robbie Dunne, all but one of which he denies.

The case revealed that Frost’s complaint to the British Horseracing Authority had allegedly led to her being ostracised in the weighing room.

Whatever the outcome of the disciplinary panel hearing, which concludes next week, Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase provided an emotional high.

The weight of public sentiment is undoubtedly behind her. That much was clear. It almost brought her to tears.

Greaneteen in full flight under Bryony Frost
Greaneteen in full flight under Bryony Frost (Steven Paston/PA)

While hot favourite Chacun Pour Soi failed to fire, Greaneteen turned the Betfair-sponsored Grade One into a procession, sticking on gamely up the famous Sandown hill.

If the emotions were remarkably kept in check by the ultra-professional Frost, the same could not be said for the throng at the Esher track, who greeted the 12-1 winner with rapturous applause.

Upon unsaddling, from above the crowd’s hubbub, a woman in her late twenties hollered: “We support you Bryony! You are doing a great job!”.

“Three cheers for Bryony,” echoed a middle-aged man. The crowd responded accordingly.

Frost was the epitome of professionalism afterwards.

Joyous in victory, she took time to explain how Greaneteen had carried her to victory for another notable milestone – the first woman to ride the winner of the Tingle Creek.

She said: “My biggest mishap was probably on the downhill fence, we were right down on our nose, but he is smart and he is clever and he brought me back up.

“I travelled down the back and coming upsides our stablemate, Hitman, around the home bend, we found two out and found the last, and we just kept coming to the line.

“We crossed the line and it was a moment of relief and also then it starts flooding in that, ‘My God, you’ve just won the Tingle Creek!’. It was awesome.

“I’m feeling like I’m on I’m cloud nine, which consistently happens when you ride for Paul. It is absolutely phenomenal for everyone involved. This horse has taken me to the heights. He is well on the way up.

“I felt the support and that the crowd were right behind me, pushing me forward. I am very privileged that people are behind me and enjoy watching me ride and enjoy the person who I am.”

Nicholls is used to the big days, of course. It was, after all, his 12th Tingle Creek victory.

The fine, young Hitman was second, and there is the promise of many bigger days to come with him.

But for Nicholls this day was a little bit extra special. A treble on the card and four on the day – all on his first afternoon back on track after contracting Covid-19 a fortnight ago.

“We had a nice winner at Chepstow, as well,” he pointed out.

“You just love winning those big races and setting horses out. We mapped out Greaneteen and today he had to be at his best. With his prep run, we didn’t want to ask him too many questions at Exeter. Hitman I really rate. He will get there in a minute.

“It was a tough call, but I made the call on the jockeys. I told Harry (Cobden) about it and he said he did not mind, whatever.

“I said to stick with Hitman, as he will have some good days on him and Bryony had won on Greaneteen, which makes things easier for everybody, and Harry knows full well he will have some super days on Hitman.

Celebrations for connections of Greaneteen
Celebrations for connections of Greaneteen (Steven Paston/PA)

“He knows they won’t clash again now until the Champion Chase, so they will probably go different routes now.

“We might go to Ascot with Greaneteen and then the Champion Chase, and Hitman could go to Kempton and then the Game Spirit and Champion Chase.

“We will keep them apart now and see what’s what.”

And while he insists he is better off out of the controversy which has split racing and thrown the spotlight on an issue that will hopefully conclude with a new era of respect, you could see that Frost’s victory meant more to Nicholls than words could say.

He admitted: “She has had a tough week – everybody knows that. I’ve never got involved in it too much all the way along the line because I didn’t want to.

“If she had been a conditional jockey, employed by me, then it might have been different. I have known what is going on, but I didn’t want to get involved. She will come out the other end fine.

“Days like today and the reception she got will help. She has been professional throughout and we will all learn lessons from it.

“Everybody involved will learn lessons from it and we hope we can put it all behind us when the outcome is announced and we can all move forward.

Bryony Frost with the big-race trophy
Bryony Frost with the big-race trophy (Steven Paston/PA)

“It was such a great reception for her. You can see how popular she is with the crowd. That is what we need in racing.

“The roar coming up the chute there today was phenomenal. I have never heard anything like it.

“That is good – good for racing. We want people to be connected and enjoy the people in it, albeit me, the horses, or Bryony or Harry Cobden or whatever.”

The roar itself was a throwback to other big days – the four Tingle Creeks won by that standing dish and fan favourite Kauto Star, perhaps?

“Kauto Star was a one-off,” said Nicholls. “When he used to come here and win Tingle Creeks and the Gold Cup, that was different.

“But on a Saturday, like today, with all those people who ran out of the crowd to clap Bryony all the way up that chute, that says a lot.

“Whatever has happened has happened and she will learn from it and we will all have to look forward and enjoy days like today. It’s been a great day.”

And how we needed that after such a testing few weeks for the sport.

Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho still in Tingle Creek

Willie Mullins has left both Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho in Saturday’s Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at the confirmation stage.

The Closutton handler announced last week that he intends to be represented by five-times Grade One winner Chacun Pour Soi in the two-mile highlight at Sandown, but he still has a second string to his bow in Allaho, who won the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before being beaten by his stablemate at Punchestown.

Mullins also had Energumene in the Tingle Creek, but he has been taken out of the race along with Shishkin, who Nicky Henderson ruled out last week.

There is a third possible Irish challenger in the Henry de Bromhead-trained Captain Guinness, who won the Poplar Square Chase on his most recent run.

Nube Negra is set to clash with Chacun Pour Soi at Sandown
Nube Negra is set to clash with Chacun Pour Soi at Sandown (Tim Goode/PA)

The home defence is headed by Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra, a thoroughly impressive winner of the Shloer Chase on his return to action at Cheltenham’s November meeting.

Skelton is looking forward to the challenge, saying: “It is a Grade One and Willie is bringing over Chacun Pour Soi who is very good and though it’s his first start of the season I wouldn’t think he will be needing the run.

“We beat him at Cheltenham in the Champion Chase, but he beat us on slower ground at Punchestown at the back end of the season.

“I’ve got our horse as well as I can have him. The forecast looks like it will give us decent ground which suits us a lot. We know we have got a big task on, but I’m really looking forward to it.

“A repeat of that Cheltenham run will put him very close and with Chacun Pour Soi there he will maybe need a little bit more, but I think he has improved a bit.”

Greaneteen has big-race form in the book at Sandown
Greaneteen has big-race form in the book at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Paul Nicholls has two to choose from in Haldon Gold Cup second and fourth Hitman and Greaneteen, while Defi Du Seuil could try to get his career back on track for Philip Hobbs after a disappointing reappearance at Ascot.

The Jennie Candlish-trained Cheddleton rounds out the eight contenders.

Skelton readies two-mile stars for Sandown

Dan Skelton is lining up a dual challenge at Sandown with both Nube Negra and Third Time Lucki due to run at the Esher track on Saturday.

Nube Negra is one of the leading lights for the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase after impressing with a six-length victory in the Shloer Chase on his seasonal bow at Cheltenham earlier this month.

He is set to clash with the Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi in what promises to be a fine renewal of the two-mile feature.

Third Time Lucki has impressed with two Cheltenham victories
Third Time Lucki has impressed with two Cheltenham victories (David Davies/PA)

Meanwhile, stablemate Third Time Lucki could try to make it three wins in as many chase outings this term in the Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices’ Chase on the same card.

The six-year-old won at Cheltenham’s meetings in October and November, booking a possible ticket for the Sandown Grade One heat.

Skelton said: “Nube Negra worked well on Saturday morning and he is definitely going.

“Third Time Lucki will join him on the lorry and hopefully run in the Henry VIII.”

Shishkin ready to roll in Tingle Creek at Sandown

Shishkin is set to put his unbeaten record over fences on the line in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 4.

The seven-year-old is Nicky Henderson’s sole representative among 14 entries for the Grade Two over two miles.

Henderson reports last season’s Arkle Trophy and Maghull Novices’ Chase scorer to be on course for the pre-Christmas feature.

“He’s going straight for the Tingle Creek. The two-mile division is very hot this season and let’s see what Willie (Mullins) throws at us,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

“He has a strong hand and will be queuing up to take us on. Shishkin is not the flashiest horse at home, he’s just very professional with a good attitude.”

Henderson told Racing TV: “It’s going to be an early-season scorcher, isn’t it?

“Dan (Skelton) is saying his horse (Nube Negra) is going to go there and he was very impressive at Cheltenham – and don’t forget, he actually beat Altior at Kempton last year.

“We knew before the season started this was going to be a hot division this year and Willie holds a lot of the cards.

“I was hoping we might get a free run until after Christmas, but I can see Willie’s point – he’s got two or three to play with and is going to have to come here with something, otherwise he’ll run out of race in Ireland.

“Shishkin grew a lot during the summer. He’s now big, strong and fully matured – he’s ready to roll.”

Mullins has entered three of his big guns – Energumene and Allaho and Chacun Pour Soi – and is likely to send over one from his Irish base as he wants to split them between the Hilly Way, Tingle Creek and John Durkan which take place on same weekend.

Henry de Bromhead’s Captain Guinness, winner of a Grade Three chase at Naas earlier this month, is a fourth Irish entry while Nube Negra, who made a successful seasonal debut in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham, is in the mix for Skelton.

Paul Nicholls, who has won the race a record 11 times, has four possibles including last year’s victor Politologue. His others are Greaneteen, Hitman and Rouge Vif. The list is completed by Cheddleton, Defi Du Seuil, First Flow and Paint The Dream.

Rouge Vif needs sound surface at Sandown

Harry Whittington is keeping an eye on the Sandown weather as he prepares Rouge Vif to take on Altior in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior has been the dominant force in the two-mile division for the last few seasons, save last term when an attempt to step up in trip left its mark on the 10-year-old as he was limited to just two starts.

In contrast, Rouge Vif was twice a winner in the 2019/20 campaign and finished third in the Arkle, boosting his mark to 156 – a perch from which he triumphed with ease on his return at Cheltenham in October.

A subsequent run in last month’s Shloer Chase back at Prestbury Park was scuppered by testing ground, and Whittington believes a sound surface at the Esher venue is crucial to Rouge Vif’s chances.

He said: “Rouge Vif is in great form and firmly on course for the Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday.

“We would obviously rather have our conditions, given we are taking on the likes of Altior, so better ground will be important to him. I think if the ground remains as it is, we would be hopeful of a good run.

“If Sandown got plenty of rain then that would put his participation in doubt, but at the moment he is a definite runner if the weather holds – and it is something we are really looking forward to.

“These are the races you dream about running in. To have a horse capable of running in a big Grade One like the Tingle Creek against a horse of Altior’s calibre is hugely exciting. Hopefully, we don’t get too much rain, and it should be a very exciting race.”

Simply The Betts has the option of running at Huntingdon for Whittington
Simply The Betts has the option of running at Huntingdon for Whittington (Tim Goode/PA)

On what could be a big weekend for Whittington and owners Kate and Andrew Brooks, Simply The Betts is also entered in Sunday’s Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

The seven-year-old, who was a Festival winner back in March, finished sixth on his return in the Paddy Power Gold Cup back at Cheltenham last month – and he could yet return to that venue in preference to Sunday’s Grade Two contest.

Whittington added: “He’s in great form and has come out of his last race fine. He’s also in the Caspian Caviar at Cheltenham on December 12, and no decision about where he runs will be made until later in the week. Wherever he runs, I think he’ll run very well.”

Great demand for Tingle Creek Chase day tickets

Jockey Club Racecourses report a “fantastic” response after tickets for next week’s Betfair Tingle Creek Chase day went on sale.

Spectators are set to return to racecourses on Wednesday for the first time since March – barring two pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick in September – after the Government announced limited crowds would be permitted under the post-lockdown restrictions.

Outdoor venues in Tier 1 and 2 areas are allowed to admit spectators after the end of the national lockdown in England on December 2, with up to 4,000 spectators or 50 per cent capacity limits – whichever is lowest – in place in Tier 1, dropping to 2,000, or 50 per cent capacity, in Tier 2. No crowds are permitted in Tier 3 areas.

Ludlow, Lingfield, Haydock and Kempton all fall under Tier 2 restrictions and get the ball rolling on Wednesday, with the JCR-run Sandown also in the same level of measures.

Next Saturday’s card is set to feature the return of Altior in the Grade One feature and Phil White, Jockey Club Racecourses London director, is delighted with the reaction of potential racegoers, with general admission tickets having sold out.

He said: “The response to us going on sale for Betfair Tingle Creek Day has been fantastic.

“Racing fans have been incredibly patient these last few months and we’re looking forward to having them with us next weekend.”

The Racecourse Association has set out operating protocols for all tracks to follow, with attendees required to purchase tickets in advance and supply full contact details for all in their party.

Racegoers are also asked to wear a face covering at all times, unless eating or drinking, travel by private transport where possible, ensure social distancing from fellow racegoers outside of their household bubble and abide by a code of conduct.