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A total of seven have been declared for this Saturday’s Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase including leading two mile chasers Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuaire.
Speaking on Thursday morning whilst watching Sprinter Sacre cantering up the famous Seven Barrows gallops in Lambourn, trainer Nicky Henderson said “The soft ground will not be ideal but there are only three targets for him this season, the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase, the Victor Chandler at Ascot and the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase so we have to take our chances. He is a classy, easy moving horse which would suggest he would handle the soft ground.”
Sprinter Sacre’s Jockey Barry Geraghty is revelling in the thought of riding last season’s leading two mile chaser around Sandown Park. Speaking on Thursday morning, Geraghty said “I’m looking forward to Saturday’s race. You have to respect Sanctuaire after the performance he put up at Sandown Park in April and I think that he poses as Sprinter Sacre’s biggest test yet. As for the soft ground, hopefully it won’t cause any problems, but it’s one of those things you don’t know until on the day. It’s going to be an interesting race, I am really looking forward to it.”
The Tingle Creek Christmas Festival starts on Friday 7th December, with the first race at 12:40pm. There are six races during the afternoon, including a new additional race, the Coldunell Amateur Jockeys Association Amateur Riders Handicap Steeple Chase (for the John Dunsdon Memorial Cup). The race will be run in memory of John Dunsdon, the late father of leading amateur jockey David Dunsdon, who was a local man and a great supporter of amateur racing. The race is Sandown Park’s most valuable ever Amateur contest and eleven have been declared.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper said, “Frost covers went down on the entire course on Wednesday. After a very cold night on Wednesday (-3.4 here) we are now expecting a wet night on Thursday, and a cold night on Friday, though not as cold as yesterday.”
“Taking all things into account and assuming the forecast is correct we are reasonably confident that we will be able to race on both days. Only if we get much more rain than is expected tonight or if Friday night turns much colder could we have any issues at all.”
On Saturday, racegoers at Sandown Park will be treated to a rare glimpse of racing legend, Kauto Star, as he parades before the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase. The recently retired dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who also notched up a couple of Tingle Creek Chase wins in 2005 and 2006, will parade before racing in the paddock and then again later in the afternoon, when he will lead the runners of the feature race out on to the course and parade in front of the stands.
The ever popular Horse and Sleigh rides are back again, transporting racegoers from Esher Train Station to the racecourse and there is a chance to do some Christmas shopping at the Hi-Life Christmas Show – the perfect opportunity for a ‘one stop’ Christmas shop!