The Tingle Creek (3.00pm) was robbed of its star performer when Willie Mullins’ high class chaser Un De Sceaux was ruled out on Wednesday.
It’s a real shame that he won’t line up, although, as he was 4/7, the race is a much more attractive betting proposition.
He is now a best-priced 7/4 favourite for the Betway Champion Chase with the sponsors.
Vibrato Valtat is rightly the new market leader following his win in the Haldon Gold Cup.
His trainer Paul Nicholls has won seven of the last 10 runnings, while Vibrato Valtat was a winner on this card 12 months ago.
This appears to be his time of year and he holds solid claims, but I’m not tempted by Betway’s 15/8.
Simonsig is next in the betting and, if he can recapture the form of his novice chase season, he will be hard to beat. That’s a big ‘if’, though.
I wouldn’t read too much into his reappearance effort over hurdles behind Bobs Worth.
It was a funny race and the winner didn’t really uphold the form in the Hennessy last weekend.
I’m sure Nicky Henderson will be treading carefully with Simonsig at the moment and would be delighted with a place. The 3/1 just doesn’t appeal.
With Un De Sceaux missing, I’m much sweeter on the chances of SPECIAL TIARA who was such an impressive winner of the Celebration Chase over course and distance in April.
Henry de Bromhead’s eight-year-old is a proper front runner and he has shown his best recent form at Sandown and Kempton.
I’m not too worried about his laboured display at Navan on his seasonal debut last month, as he did exactly the same thing last term.
He handles all types of ground, but is better on a sound surface, and I don’t expect it to be too testing tomorrow afternoon.
Although he was a much bigger price earlier in the week, 5/1 is fair against rivals who have something to prove.
I’d love to see Sire De Grugy return to form and Gary Moore reported in his Betway blog last week that he was in A1 condition.
However, there are still plenty of questions to answer and 7/1 isn’t big enough to draw me in.
Somersby has finished second for the last two years, and has each-way claims again, but both Josses Hill and Mr Mole have to step up significantly.
Any James Bond fans planning to see Spectre tomorrow evening can pay for the popcorn by backing O O SEVEN in the opening novice hurdle (12.15pm).
He finished down the field in the Champion Bumper at the Festival, but looked high class on his first start over hurdles at Huntingdon a few weeks ago.
Henderson has won the last six runnings of this race, so he won’t be a massive price. That said, I think he’ll win.
The final race of the day is the London National (3.35pm), which features a number of old friends.
If the ground really deteriorates, I’d be interested in Mountainous, who is dangerously well-handicapped for Kerry Lee.
Alan King has had an incredible few weeks and he can land another big Saturday prize with ZIGA BOY.
The six-year-old is going to sneak in right at the bottom of the weights and a severe test of stamina on a decent surface is what he has been crying out for.
O O Seven, 12.15pm, Sandown
Special Tiara, 3.00pm, Sandown
Ziga Boy e/w, 3.35pm, Sandown