The Tingle Creek is the first proper Graded test for horses heading down the two-mile avenue, with the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival later in the season in mind.
13 winners from the last 16 renewals did go on to compete in that season’s Champion Chase at the Festival, with five of those going onto win the Wednesday showpiece – the likes of Dodging Bullets, Sire de Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded & Moscow Flyer.
For many horses, this is their first race of the season, but that does not go down too well, as only five of the last 16 winners won this on their seasonal reappearance.
This does look good for current favourite Altior, who skipped the Shloer Chase at the November Cheltenham meeting last month and comes up against many fitter rivals.
However, he can count upon his course experience and of course his cheer class, as half of the last 16 winners had won a chasing race at Sandown before, and Altior has three to his name. 13 of the last 16 winners had won a Grade One chase before, with at least four wins over fences under any bracket.
Favourites do have a good record, with nine of the last sixteen winning the Grade One feature, with an extra seven returning a 6/1 shot or shorter in the betting.
Paul Nicholls has an excellent record in the race, with nine winners, whereas jockey wise, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty have won this race a combined seven times, and are always two to look out for.
But Altior is the standout act in the Tingle Creek field, and the three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, along with the tag of being Champion Chaser, will be very hard to stop.