December is often a big month for British trainer Paul Nicholls. He begins the month running Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on December 3.
A win would be his third in a row and a record extending 13th career victory in the Grade 1 race. The end of December will see Nicholls trying to train the winner of the King George VI Chase and that would be a record 13th win.
Last year saw Greaneteen win this race by five and a half lengths from Hitman. He was going away from the field in the closing stages of this race that is run over half a furlong short of two miles.
Since that win, the eight-year-old has recorded his third win at Sandown, storming home by 12 lengths in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase. With a love of Sandown and success over the distance, Greaneteen is the current fourth favorite to win a second Tingle Creek.
As is often the case, the favorite is trained by Willie Mullins. He’s only won this race once and that was back in 2016. This year he will fancy his chances of Energumene giving him a second success.
The eight-year-old ended the last National Hunt season with a record of seven wins out of eight. His only loss was in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot, going down by a length to Shishkin. Energumene led by two lengths approaching the last fence but that race was over a longer distance than the Tingle Creek is.
March of this year saw Energumene win the Queen Mother Chase at Cheltenham. Behind him on that occasion was Shiskin who never got going and was pulled up. If the ground at Sandown is soft, then Willie Mullins may well be celebrating another victory.
The Tingle Creek is a great race to bet on. Gamblers from all over the world including New Jersey will be interested in trying to get the winner.
According to NJ online horse wagering experts, this is an open race and second favorite Shishkin will be aiming to get another win over Energumene. Shiskin has only lost one race but won all of those that have been finished. A win has also been recorded over Greaneteen in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last December.
The previous two years had produced wins for the Nicky Henderson trained runner in the Supreme Novices’ Chase and the Arkle at Cheltenham. He was odds on to win the Queen Mother Chase but never traveled well. Will a return to form be seen in the Tingle Creek?
Another to consider for this race is course and distance winner Edwardstone. Trained by Alan King, Edwardstone won the Henry VIII Chase, which was run on the same day as the Tingle Creek last year.
Edwardstone is third in the betting at present and won at the Cheltenham Festival this year. Despite being bumped, the Arkle Challenge Trophy was won in style. That was the fifth win in a row but the run ended at Aintree when second in the Grade 1 Maghull Chase when heavily odds on to win.
This looks to be a fascinating race. Shishkin will be all out to show that Cheltenham run was a one-off and should have a great battle with Energumene.
JTW Equine Images, Past The Wire