All eyes will be on the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday and punters have a betting heat on their hands after the withdrawal of Douvan.
After a huge market move on the 2017 Champion Chase favourite on Tuesday, the bookmakers went odds-on that he would make a winning return to the track and punters were quick to snap up the generous prices on the superstar.
Unfortunately for ante post backers he was left out of the declarations on Thursday and Willie Mullins will be represented by the talented Un De Sceaux.
The 2015 Arkle winner looked destined for greatness when he powered home at the Cheltenham Festival last year but he struggled to reach the dizzy heights expected. The resurgence of Sprinter Sacre in the two-mile division saw Un De Sceaux fall short in the Champion Chase and Celebration Chase and his defeat in the latter was most worrying.
The way his jumping fell to pieces over course and distance must be a huge concern for his backers and he will not relish any good in the going description.
Instead, it makes far more sense to side with SIRE DE GRUGY
(10/3, Paddy Power
) and back the multiple Grade One-winning star to add a third Tingle Creek to his impressive CV.
Jamie Moore riding Sire De Grugy.
The 2014 Champion Chase hero has put up some of his most impressive displays at Sandown and he won for the fourth time at the course when he defeated Special Tiara in this race twelve months ago. The rest of the campaign was slightly disappointing but he bounced back to form in style at Ascot last time out, powering to victory and showing the benefit of his seasonal reappearance at Aintree.
The way him jumped at Ascot was spectacular and he showed that he retains all of his ability with a commanding weight-giving success over the talented duo Quite By Chance and Vaniteux. Conditions on Saturday look perfect and he can put his experience and busy start to the season to good use.
Stablemate Ar Mad rates a huge danger, but he ran dreadfully on his reappearance last season and he should come on for his run this weekend.
15.00 Sandown selection
- SIRE DE GRUGY
(10/3, Paddy Power