God's Own will struggle to confirm recent form on testing Sandown ground
The absence of Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy take a little of the sparkle away from this contest but those absences make Sandown’s Tingle Creek a much more appealing betting contest. There is a competitive look to the race as it’s attracted its biggest field in the last decade and punters won’t have to worry about short prices.
Heading the betting are old foes God’s Own (4/1) and Balder Success (3/1). The latter is likely to go off favourite despite being beaten by Tom George’s God’s Own on his last two starts, although Balder Success does have one victory over his rival. Alan King’s charge beat God’s Own by a comfortable 1.25 lengths at Kempton in February over half a mile further than this trip giving him 7lbs. God’s Own has had the edge over shorter trips since though. In truth there is very little between the two horses and the deciding factor could be the ground. Tom George said the good to soft ground last time out was as testing as his horse would want it whereas Balder Success is thought to be much more of a mudlark which just about swings things in his favour.
Paul Nicholls won this 6 years running between 2005 and 2010 and he saddles two in the race this year. Of his two, Dodging Bullets (9/1) looks a much more likely winner than Hinterland (12/1) and although he’s happy on this ground and has a good record going right handed he’s still got lots of improvement to find to beat either of the favourites.
Somersby (8/1) was second in this last year but he’ll have to jump better than he did at Ascot last time out and he’s better over that Ascot trip of 2.5 miles. Should Somersby become outpaced as expected the biggest danger to God’s Own and Balder Success may well be Nicky Henderson’s Oscar Whisky (13/2). He too would probably be better suited by further but the ground will suit and having previously placed in the Champion Hurdle he’s clearly not slow. He’s 2 from 2 at Sandown and 3 from 3 on his completed starts going right handed (and unlucky not to win the other right handed start when falling at the last).
The vote has to go to Balder Success on this ground with God’s Own and Oscar Whiskey fancied to follow him home.