Sandown Tingle Creek Festival Betting Tips

The novices take centre stage on the first day of Sandown’s Tingle Creek meeting, with a pair of Grade 2 events headlining Friday's card.

The Winter Novices’ Hurdle and Esher Novices’ Chase have both attracted small fields, but the former has a potential star declared and the Esher features last year’s Albert Bartlett winner.

Our expert has three bets for Friday's card with selections in the two feature races and the handicap chase at 3.00.

Day One:

2.25 - Betfair Esher Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)

It’s quality over quantity on day one of Sandown’s Tingle Creek meeting with small fields the order of the day, but there are some top prospects on show and a few potential betting opportunities.

Paul Nicholls saddles Stay Away Fay in the Esher Novices’ Chase and he looks capable of taking the step back up to graded company in his stride with just three rivals to face.

Last year’s Grade 1 Albert Bartlett winner looked like a bright prospect last term and he made a highly promising start to his chase career when winning a £22k novice chase at Exeter on his seasonal debut.

He showed a good attitude that day, battling back to beat The Changing Man, who is in opposition again, by just under two lengths.

He looks like a real stayer in the making and softer ground could help bring his stamina into play at Sandown.

The Changing Man could struggle to reverse the form of that Exeter race given the contrasting levels of form they achieved over hurdles last season, and Paul Nicholls’ yard could hardly be in better form with 12 winners from their last 35 runners.

Giovino put an unseat at Carlisle behind him to land an Aintree novice chase on the Mildmay course last month, but there’s a suspicion that Stay Away Fay will be too classy for his main market rival.

Outsider Conkwell legend has been well held in chases this season and looks up against it.

Selection: Stay Away Fay

1.50 - Betfair Beacons Winter Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

The preceding race looks more competitive, although Paul Nicholls has another leading contender.

Insurrection is the horse in question. He left last season’s rules debut behind him (a distant fourth at Ffos Las) to bolt up on his return at Exeter last month.

He looked like a slick jumper that day, getting the better of a short-priced favourite, and it was a long way back to the third, who was arriving on the back of a maiden hurdle win.

The six-year-old needs to take another step forward to land this Grade 2 contest, but he was a point-to-point winner last year, so there’s every chance this greater stamina test will suit, and he should come on for his return run, which was his first since a wind operation.

It’s been suggested that he may go for the Grade 1 Tolworth later in the season and he looks capable of landing this on his way to bigger things.

Selection: Insurrection

3.00 - Betfair Exchange Handicap Chase

This handicap chase is one of the better betting races on the card with a double-figure field entered, and Midnight Mary may go well at a price.

Lucy Wadham's mare was in fine form last year, winning at Wetherby and going close in four of her other five outings during the 2022-23 campaign.

Midnight Mary produced a highly encouraging return to action at Plumpton last month, finishing a close third under a positive ride from Bryony Frost, and fitness may have caught her out that day.

She won on her second appearance of last season, so she may do better here and soft ground shouldn't be an issue. With a workable handicap mark of 115 and the testing nature of Sandown’s chase track guaranteed to suit, she makes plenty of appeal at an each-way price in a race she may be able to dominate from the front.

Selection: Midnight Mary

Day Two:

11.35 – Claremont Novices' Hurdle

This should be a superb race between some of the best prospects in Britain and Willmount looks set to go off a short-priced favourite. He was impressive when winning at Newbury, but doesn’t look as good as Booster Bob, who quickly put 18 lengths between himself and the remainder of the field when defying a penalty at Uttoxeter last month and produced some impressive finishing sectionals. That was on heavy ground, so the forecast rain is no issue, and Booster Bob rates a good bet to bring Willmount down a peg or two.

Selection: Booster Bob

12.05 – Mares' Handicap Hurdle

This race looks wide open and it might be worth taking a chance on Fortunefavorsdbold. She has shown little in two outings since joining the Christian Williams stable from Paul Nolan in Ireland but her last run came in a red-hot handicap at Cheltenham and this is a much weaker race. She has dropped 4lb in the weights since joining the stable and has plenty of form on testing ground, so any ease in conditions will suit her. She gets a narrow vote ahead of Whisky Express and Fable, who are the two big dangers.

Selection: Fortunefavorsdbold

12.40 – Handicap Hurdle

There is a lot to like about the way that Operation Manna has been going about his business. He has won five of his nine starts and appears to be improving, judging by his easy victories at Sandown and Lingfield this season. Both of those wins came under Cameron Iles, who can take 7lb off the selection’s back once again, and a 9lb rise in the weights might not stop the hat-trick. The step back up to a longer trip and soft conditions look certain to suit.

Selection: Operation Manna

1.15 – Fighting Fifth Hurdle

It is impossible to get away from the unbeaten superstar Constitution Hill, who should be far too good for these rivals. He produced one of the best performances ever in a Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last season and is a class apart. If you’re looking for one to chase him home then Not So Sleepy is a lively outsider. He likes testing ground and goes from the front.

Selection: Constitution Hill

1.50 – Henry VIII Novices' Chase

This is a cracking race and let’s hope that JPR One can stay upright this time because he was in the process of producing one of the most striking performances from a novice chaser this season at Cheltenham last time when unseating his rider at the final fence. He had previously been impressive when winning at Newton Abbot and could develop into Britain’s leading hope for the Arkle this season. He is fancied to land this Grade 1 en route to that spring target.

Selection: JPR One

2.25 – Handicap Hurdle

Gary Moore loves a winner at Sandown and the leading trainer can be trusted to have Spirit D’Aunou at his peak on his second run of the season. The four-year-old won four in a row last campaign and was a warm favourite for his reappearance at Cheltenham, but ran too free and finished only fourth. That was still a good effort, especially when you consider the winner took a Grade 2 prize next time, and Spirit D’Aunou is well treated off a mark of 129.

Selection: Spirit D’Aunou

3.00 – Tingle Creek Chase

This is a rematch between Jonbon and Edwardstone, who met at Cheltenham last month when Jonbon ran out a nine-and-a-half-lengths winner. That was off level weights and Jonbon is a dual course-and-distance winner, so there is no reason why Edwardstone should reverse the places. Jonbon can prove a class apart with Edwardstone second.

Selection: Jonbon

3.35 – National Handicap Chase

This will be a gruelling test up Sandown’s hill over a marathon trip and that will suit Rapper, who stayed on strongly to finish fifth over 3m in the Masters at this course in February and looks like he will be even better over this extra half-mile. He is also 3lb lower than for that effort and should come on for his seasonal reappearance at Kelso in October, when he suffered an irregular heartbeat and was pulled up.

Selection: Rapper

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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