Nicky Henderson will be hoping for Tingle Creek glory at Sandown on Saturday as the trainer prepares to saddle Josses Hill and Simonsig in the Grade One.
The master trainer had originally been eyeing a tilt at the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon for Josses Hill, but the prospect of better ground at Sandown means that he will now run both chasers and they will face six other runners in the highlight.
Nico de Boinville rides Josses Hill with Barry Geraghty retaining the partnership with Simonsig and both will be taking on Paul Nicholls’ duo Mr Mole and Vibrato Valtat. The latter is the current favourite for the race after his fantastic return in the Haldon Gold Cup and connections appear to be full of confidence ahead of his trip to the Esher track.
Irish hopes rest on Henry de Bromhead's Special Tiara, winner of the Celebration Chase at the track in April, and owner Sally Rowley-Williams believes the horse has what it takes to score in Saturday’s showpiece.
"The fact they are going to miss all that rain at Sandown is pleasing," she said.
"When he won the Celebration Chase there in April, Noel (Fehily) felt the ground was softer than they said and he wouldn't have wanted it much softer, really.
"As long as it is no worse than it was that day then we should be fine.”
Former winner Sire De Grugy, Somersby - runner-up for the last two seasons - and Third Intention complete the field.
Vibrato Valtat is 7/4 favourite with Sky Bet
, Simonsig at 3/1, Special Tiara 5/1, and Sire De Grugy, who won this race in 2013, next in the market at 6/1
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