Thursday 26 November 2020

December Good Tidings; The Betfair Tingle Creek Festival

The first week of December will start just like November ended for horse racing fans and enthusiasts around the world, on a high! The opening weekend of December comes bearing great tidings in the form of the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival, two days of jumo action that has a special twist, as there might be spectators out in the stands. 

The announcement by the UK government to allow limited number of fans and spectators back into some parts of the UK, classified as Tiers 1 and 2, on the 23rd of November, may already feel like Christmas gifts coming early as there just might be a chance of getting the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival into that category. The two-day jump spectacle takes place on the first weekend of December, at the Sandown Park racecourse. The card is a 14-horse affair, with the Henry VIII Novices' Chase on Friday, the first day, and the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase of the second day. All the fun and excitement of the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival will not be amiss in the US, as fans and punters alike can get their fix and even go for a flutter with TVG Oregon, and not miss a beat with a live stream and betting all in the same place.

Once a Grade 2 race, the Henry VIII Novices' Chase has grown in recognition and stature thanks to how much of a springboard it has been for some of the biggest names in horse racing, over the years, such as Decoupage, Racing Démon, and Impek. The caliber of trainers is also a telling point of the grandeur of the race. Paul Nicholls and his 11 victories, including a most recent in 2018 (Dynamite Dollars), after back-to-back wins in 2013 (Hinterland) and 2014 (Vibrato Valtat), holds the record for the most wins. The Henry VIII Novices' Chase is now a Grade 1, 2 mile, National Hunt Steeplechase, for horses 4 years and older, with 13 fences dotting their race to the finish line for a 55,000 GBP prize. 

The second and last day of the race sees the main attraction, the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase, take center stage. 14 horses will compete for the 120,000 GBP purse. Run on turf over a mile and seven furlongs and 119 yards, the Tingle Creek Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt Steeplechase, inaugurated in 1979. Once a Henry VIII Novices' Chase winner, the impressive Altior, who has 15 wins out of 16 chase starts will be the one to watch as the 10-year old prepares to come full circle with the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival. Last year, the horse was limited to just two outings, as Defi du Deuil claimed victory ahead of Un de Sceaux, who will be returning to do one better than last year's finish. Any Paul Nicholls horse deserves some respect and this year, the record man for victories will have four entries, including the highly rated Politologue.