Fans must wait for Un De Sceaux v Sprinter Sacre duel

Un De Sceaux, last season’s top novice, heads a list of 10 entries for the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday but won’t face a showdown with Sprinter Sacre at Sandown after Nicky Henderson withdrew the nine-year-old from the race.

Fans must wait for Un De Sceaux v Sprinter Sacre duel

Un De Sceaux, trained by Willie Mullins, has won his last four starts over fences including the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

He is early ante-post favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and is 4-7 with the sponsor to make a successful reappearance in the two-mile Grade One.

Despite his short price, Un De Sceaux is likely to face strong opposition including Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy, winner of this race two years ago.

Despite Sprinter Sacre’s absence, Henderson is still doubly represented with Simonsig and Josses Hill.

Simonsig had his first run since winning the Arkle in 2013 when second to stablemate Bobs Worth over hurdles at Aintree at the beginning of November.

Josses Hill was third in the Arkle.

Paul Nicholls is double-handed with Vibrato Valtat and Mr Mole.

Henry de Bromhead, successful with Identity Thief in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last weekend, is thinking of another raid with Special Tiara.

Mick Channon’s admirable Somersby, runner-up in this race for the last two years, is set to have another go.

Completing the 10 possibles are Colin Tizzard’s Third Intention and Savello, from Dan Skelton’s stable.

Betfair Spokesman Barry Orr said: “We initially offered even money about Un De Sceaux but after he was reported to have schooled exceptionally well at Thurles (last week), that price immediately came under pressure and with the withdrawal of Sprinter Sacre, who we have refunded all ante-post bets on, his price contracted even further but has now settled at 4-7.

“Vibrato Valtat has the advantage of a run and will serve it up to Un De Sceaux, but the favourite will be a very warm order and could go off even shorter than Sprinter Sacre who was sent off the 4-11 favourite when he won the Tingle Creek in 2012.”

Henderson, meanwhile, has explained his reasoning for not sending Sprinter Sacre to Sandown.

The Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas is the next likely race for the former Queen Mother Champion Chase hero following his comeback success in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham earlier this month.

“We’re not going to go to the Tingle Creek with Sprinter Sacre,” Henderson said.

“I talked to Caroline Mould (owner) over the weekend. He’s in really, really good form but, having got him into good shape and the right place, he just doesn’t need another race at the moment and it’s as simple as that.

“Simonsig and Josses Hill will be in there and they are both in the Peterborough at Huntingdon as well on Sunday so we’ll see what we do.

“With Sprinter, the Desert Orchid at Kempton is the likely place for him and if he needs another run before Cheltenham, fine.

“The Shloer was only three weeks ago and he’s come out of it really well. It would be a hard race if Un De Sceaux ran and a hard race in soft ground is not what we want.

“We don’t need to run him again. We’re not going to learn anything.”

With Spinter Sacre out, Vibrato Valtat looks the biggest threat to Un De Sceaux.

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies believes Vibrato Valtat’s track record and recent winning form gives him solid claims.

The six-year-old landed the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase on this card 12 months ago and returns to Sandown on the back of victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on his reappearance four weeks ago. “He’s in really good form,” Twiston-Davies said of Vibrato Valtat.

“His Haldon Gold Cup win was brilliant and we’re going into the weekend hopefully with a horse that is fresh and well.

“Obviously we’ve got Un De Sceaux and stuff to beat. We’ve had a run but it’s the Tingle Creek, at the end of the day.

“Sprinter Sacre isn’t in it, which makes it a little easier, but fingers crossed Sandown will suit him.

“He loves the track, so hopefully he’ll go well.”

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