The Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park is the first of Britain's traditional marquee contests run over two miles in the National Hunt season.
Run each year in early December, the Tingle Creek is a special contest, taking in the famous Sandown Park Railway fences, and it provides a supreme test of fast, accurate jumping for some of the speediest chasers in the lands.
The Tingle Creek is often a pointer towards the premier two-mile chase in the season, the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, though it is rich in history itself and stands alone as a much-coveted prize.
Here's our one-stop guide to Sandown's Grade 1 winter highlight.
The Tingle Creek Chase is set to take place on Saturday 9th December 2023, with an off-time of 3.00 at Sandown Park. The race is traditionally run in early December, just as the festive season begins to loom large.
Sandown Park is one of Britain's premier year-round venues, offering top class action both on the flat and over jumps.
Their summer highlight is the Eclipse Stakes in early July, while over jumps, the undoubted highlighted comes in early December via the Tingle Creek Chase - one of Britain's pre-eminent two-mile chases and a contest rich in history.
Sandown's jumps test is one of the purest on British soil with the renowned line of seven fences in the back straight, the last three of which are known as the Railway Fences and are situated close together; sure to test any horses' ability to get into a jumping rhythm.
The Tingle Creek Chase will be available to watch via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform, alongside every race from the UK and Ireland. Television viewers can enjoy the Sandown spectacular via both ITV and Racing TV.
The event was first run in 1969 as the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup, before being renamed the Mecca Bookmakers' Handicap Chase and then the Tingle Creek Handicap Chase in 1979 after the horse who enjoyed a special association with Sandown Park.
Having started life as a handicap contest, the Tingle Creek Chase was upgraded to a Grade 1 contest in 1994, when Viking Flagship won for David Nicholson and Adrian Dunwoody.
Sound Man would score two in a row for Ireland and trained Edward O'Grady in 1995 and 1996, while in 1999 the name of Paul Nicholls was added to the honours board and the Ditcheat trainer has gone on to set records in the race.
This century, the great and the good of two-mile chasing have all come to Sandown Park in early December to showcase their abilities, with Moscow Flyer, Kauto Star, Master Minded, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy, Un De Sceaux, Politologue and Altior all winners of the Tingle Creek.
Paul Nicholls has become the leading trainer in this race since Flagship Uberalles gave him his first win in 1999. That horse would complete a hat-trick of wins, of course, though in the care of three different trainers.
Nicholls would score again in 2002 with Cenkos, before his true golden era yielded six successive Tingle Creek wins from 2005 onwards as Kauto Star (2005/06), Twist Magic (2007 & 2009) and Master Minded (2008 & 2010) gave him a stranglehold on the race.
While not quite having that same firepower since, Nicholls has managed to remain a regular winner of this Grade 1 contest through the likes of Dodging Bullets (2014), Politologue (2017 & 2020) and Greaneteen in 2021.
Three-time British Champion Jockey Richard Dunwoody holds the record for Tinge Creek wins with five. The Belfast-born rider scored with Lefrak City (1985), Waterloo Boy (1991 & 1992) and Sound Man (1995 & 1996).
Ruby Walsh sits second with four wins on Cenkos, Kauto Star, Twist Magic and, lastly, Un De Sceaux for Willie Mullins in 2016. That final win remains the only occasion that Ireland's perennial champion trainer has managed to snare the Tingle Creek prize.
With his three wins from 1999-2001, the great Flagship Uberalles still leads the way in terms of Tingle Creek successes.
His storied career led him through the hands of five trainers, with Noel Chance and Philip Hobbs joining Nicholls in saddling him for glory in this Sandown feature.
He also won both the Arkle and Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, hallmarks of the great two-mile chasers.
Here are the Tingle Creek heroes since 2010.
|Henry de Bromhead
|Sire De Grugy
|Sire De Grugy
|Un De Sceaux
|Nico de Boinville
|Defi Du Seuil
The Nicky Henderson-trained Jonbon is the 1/3 favourite to win the Tingle Creek this year after impressing in his comeback win in Cheltenham's Grade 2 Shloer Chase in November.
He will look to establish himself as Britain's top two-mile chaser between now and the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Last year's winner Edwardstone is a 6/1 chance, though he finished more than nine lengths behind Jonbon at Cheltenham last time.
He was third in this race in 2021 and second to Jonbon in the bet365 Celebration Chase back in April.